Personal injury lawyer advertising continues to raise eyebrows across the United States. A new study examines how Philadelphia personal injury lawyers continue to unleash legal services ads on that city’s consumers. The problem isn’t limited to the East Coast, as Texans, too, have seen in recent years.
Personal injury lawyer ads with terms such as “medical alert,” “public service announcement” or “drug alert” have proliferated in recent years. For example, from October to December 2018, television viewers in the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio markets alone saw more than 132,000 advertisements for legal services, according to an American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) report.
Thankfully, the Lone Star State is a leader in smart-minded, consumer-friendly reforms. A new Texas law aimed at addressing the same practice was passed in 2019 and took effect on Sept. 1. The new law protects Texans from deceptive lawyer ads.
The law prohibits certain statements and requires warnings and disclosures for legal services advertisements, and ultimately penalize those who violate the rules. Lawsuit ads relating to pharmaceutical drugs or medical devices are required to state that consumers should not discontinue medication until speaking to a physician. In addition, ads are not allowed to display logos of federal or state agencies in a manner that might be viewed as an endorsement or official government notice. The Texas law also states that these types of ads will disclose they are paid advertisements for legal services, among other requirements.
The proliferation of these ads nationally, as well as the new requirements in Texas offer up a good and timely reminder: Don’t let a lawyer be your doctor.