Reading the Fine Print on Lawyer TV Ads

Recently there have been numerous TV commercials for lawyers where someone brags about how much money the lawyer recovered for them. These people generally appear fine and gush about what a financial windfall the lawyer got them for their injury claim. The problem is the fine print disclaimers that accompany many of these commercials scroll across the screen so quickly, or are so small, you can’t read them. Many people don’t even see them let alone read them. Here’s a compilation of some of these disclaimers from some recent TV lawyer ads:

– Not an actual client testimonial or based upon a specific case.

– Dramatization: Not an actual case.

– Actor portrayal, not a real client.

– The monetary result referenced is not from an actual case.

– The monetary recoveries referenced are not typical of most injury claims and [law firm name omitted] in no way guarantees or promises similar results for specific injury claims.

–  Not a typical injury case recovery.

–  (Lawyer name omitted) will not be the lawyer responsible handling your claim or case and the financial recoveries referenced herein are generalizations of atypical injury cases. No warranty or     guarantee of a specific monetary result is made herein.

–  Not a real client or case result.

–  Not an actual case result or recovery. [Law firm name omitted] processes claims and cases via a referral to an affiliate law firm. Referral law firms are solely responsible for claim and case presentation and remit a portion of the attorney fees to [law firm name omitted.]

–  Actor and/or spokesperson is compensated for services and any reference to financial recoveries  are of non-typical personal injury matters.

–  Actual results may vary. Not licensed to practice law in Alabama.

Legal? Maybe. But doesn’t this smell of deception? A commercial runs with a “client” boasting of a huge financial recovery but hidden in the commercial is one of the above fine print disclaimers stating the results are not true or not typical.  Seems like the old bait and switch sales tactics used by shady salesmen of days gone by.  Trust between an attorney and his or her client is critical to a good relationship. Clients must rely on and trust their attorney to help them through a difficult time. If the initial basis for that relationship is based upon a deceptive TV ad, can the client really be confident that the attorney has the client’s best interest at heart?

So how else besides TV can you find an attorney? AVVO.com is an excellent attorney rating service that has lots of information about local attorneys and rates attorneys on a scale of 1-10. There’s also biographical information about the attorney, client reviews and professional achievements. Also, most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations so you can consult with more than one attorney before deciding what attorney you are most comfortable with.

BP Appeal Bogs Down Settlement Program Progress

Do I still have a BP claim? A question asked by many Gulf Coast business owners.  The simple answer is yes, but it will continue to take time and patience for business owners to receive a settlement payment. Deep Water Horizon spill Since the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit lifted the injunction on settlement payments this summer, the Settlement Program has steadily increased payments to qualified business owners.  However, there continue to be significant delays and backlogs in processing due to the continued implementation of Policy 495, the policy requiring a business’s revenue to “match” with its corresponding expenses. In addition to the technical delays of implementing this sweeping policy, Settlement Administrator Patrick Juneau’s efforts to improve the handling of business loss claims continues to be frustrated with a flurry of objections, appeals, threats, and stall tactics made by BP.  Later this month, it is hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court will bring an end to BP’s largest challenge confronting the efficiency of the Settlement Program.  While it was largely expected the Court would announce whether it would hear BP’s request for appeal (writ of certiorari) on Monday, November 17th , the Court instead announced it would postpone its decision until after its next conference, November 25th.  Should the Court determine it will not hear BP’s appeal, business claimants can expect the claim process to become more productive by the end of the year.  Should you have any questions related to the Settlement Program or whether your business qualifies for a claim, please contact Knox Boteler at knox@bfw-lawyers.com