Written by attorney John Joseph Uustal

Ambulance Chasers Suck: Part Four

Continued from Ambulance Chasers Suck: Part Three


While some lawyer recommendations by nurses or paramedics or doctors may be out of genuine concern for the patient, it is also possible that the recommendation is simply because of some direct or indirect financial compensation. Doctors may have a relationship with the lawyer which involves referring clients to each other. And some ambulance chasers pay kickbacks to "runners" who chase down cases for them. You need to know that ambulance chasers may have "runners" at the hospital.

A "runner" is an orderly or other agent hired by a lawyer to loiter around the ER waiting to solicit an injured patient. The runner gets paid in cash by the lawyer based on the number and the value of the cases they get.

This is illegal, but it happens anyway. Anytime someone gets a kickback from a lawyer because of a client referral, something is wrong. The problem is that you can’t always tell if the recommendation is because of a kickback. You must be very cautious with any lawyer recommendations that you didn’t ask for.

Any time that you are told that you will receive immediate cash, plus more when the case settles, you can be sure that you are dealing with an ambulance chaser. Lawyers are prohibited by law from paying clients. Any time you are promised cash on the spot, you are in danger.

Be suspicious whenever a stranger enters your hospital room, even an authority figure like a police officer or a minister. Imagine a police officer coming in to the room, sympathizing with your injuries, casually mentioning a similar accident involving someone in his family, and the amazing lawyer that they had. You may even ask for the lawyer’s name, but you’ve just been chatted up by another type of runner.


Ambulance chasers actually hire cappers to orchestrate car accidents and then convince the innocent driver at the scene to hire the ambulance chaser lawyer. In staged collisions, a capper may pretend to be a witness and hand you a lawyer’s business card, persuading you to call for an appointment.

These collisions can be staged in countless ways, but here are few.

The Swoop and Squat:

Here, you are trailing two other cars which are driven by the ambulance chaser’s employees. One vehicle swoops in front of you and slows down in front of the second vehicle, forcing the car to apply the brakes. You have no chance to brake and you end up crashing into one of the Ambulance chaser’s cars. In this situation, you are at fault for the ensuing accident.

Drive Down:

In this situation, you begin to merge into traffic with the capper waving you on to continue with the merge. While you complete the merge, the capper purposely collides into you. He subsequently denies allowing you to merge into traffic.

Side Swipe:

This scenario usually occurs in a busy intersection when cappers intentionally crash into your car as you enter a double turning lane but then try to blame you.

Cappers are also used by ambulance chasers in more sophisticated car collision schemes. Here, ambulance chasers team up with deceitful doctors and repair shop operators. Believe it or not, some doctors will actually recommend and perform unnecessary surgery on a patient as a part of these schemes. The doctor gets paid for the surgery, and the lawyer gets paid on a bigger personal injury claim, but the patient alone faces the risks and physical harm from the unnecessary surgery.

Medical Mills

Medical Mills consist of doctors, lawyers, and recruiters who exploit patients and insurance companies through unethical and fraudulent billing schemes. The clinic submits bills to the insurance company while the medical mill "sells" your case to a law firm for a portion of the legal fees that will be generated. Or, it could work the other way around. Ambulance chasers will funnel patients to dishonest doctors who knowingly exaggerate the seriousness of the patient’s injuries.

Continue reading Ambulance Chasers Suck: Part Five for important information on how ambulance chasers advertise and how you can identify a real trial attorney.

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