Texas lawmakers passed HB 148, legislation aimed at telemarketers who contact crash victims by purchasing accident reports from local police departments.
The bill now on its way to Governor Perry for his signature makes it illegal for lawyers, chiropractors and other health professionals to solicit the victims of auto accidents or catastrophes by telephone or in person.
The legislation is a huge step in curtailing the activities of today’s ambulance chasers, said the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud, a group of insurance industry representatives, state and county government, as well as Texas and national anti-fraud organizations.
The TCIF says that crash victims are often told they need to visit a certain chiropractor whether they have been injured or not. The group claims that while victims may be awaiting treatment, they are at times solicited by lawyers or people representing law firms who promise free legal advice.
“It’s all a scam for a very small number of chiropractors, lawyers and others who are out to get as much as they can from an individual’s insurance claim,” says Dennis Devlin, chairman of the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud. “We owe the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Todd Smith and Sen. Jeff Wentworth, huge praise for passage of this legislation that will curtail this ongoing trail of lies, deception and outright theft.”
Devlin said passage of this legislation was unique in that the insurance industry, the Texas Chiropractor Association and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association all worked together to ensure the bill’s passage.
If convicted, the solicitors would face a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense, but the penalty would increase for any additional convictions. Upon the Governor’s signature, the bill will take affect Sept. 1, 2009.
Source: Insurance Council of Texas
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