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Long before you were injured in your automobile accident, you saw endless advertisements on television, billboards, and elsewhere from referral services offering to help by finding you a doctor AND a lawyer. According to a 2012 report from the Florida Bar, consumers have reported calling doctor lawyer referral services, being sent to a clinic, and being met there by an attorney who would be proposed to handle their case. What is wrong with finding your doctor and lawyer this way? Should you be concerned about the quality of advice and care you get from a team of doctors and lawyers tied together so closely? In short, what is wrong with doctor lawyer referral services?
First, why do doctor lawyer referral services want you to call them so badly? After all, the advertisements say something like, “you may be entitled to $ 10,000″ right? Well, what they really mean is that the clinic will get paid your Florida no fault benefits if you get treated there and let them bill your automobile insurance. You don’t get your $ 10,000 in benefits. They do.
Second, let’s face it. The best way to find a lawyer or doctor is to learn first hand from either prior experience or recommendation from a trusted friend or family member that they provide high quality services. You want a doctor who gives good care and coordinates your health insurance benefits forthrightly or discusses your payment sources and options up front. You want a lawyer who tells you the good, the bad, and the ugly, not just what you want to hear. You need to know the truth, not empty promises. After all, when your case is over, the lawyer goes on to the next one. For you, it’s a one time deal. You are relying on the attorney to guide you through the process with his wealth of previous experiences with other clients. If you choose your attorney wisely, you will get honest advice, even if what you are being told is not what you’d rather hear. Only then can you make wise choices that affect your case and your life.
If a law firm and a particular clinic are so wed to one another that lawyers are meeting prospective clients at the clinic on the patient’s first visit, one has to wonder whether their allegiance to one another puts the patient/client in the backseat. Setting aside that it is unethical and many times illegal for attorneys with no prior relationship with a person to solicit them as a client in Florida, what is such a lawyer likely to advise a client if circumstances are such that the client would be better served by another doctor, clinic, or type of doctor or clinic? What if the patient has health insurance that the clinic doesn’t accept but a clinic across the street with no