Reasoning Behind Legal Advertising After the Amtrak Tragedy

by Sokolove Law

After Tuesday night’s Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, the news was flooded with stories about the victims of the crash, the Amtrak engineer, and what may have gone wrong. Soon after, you likely saw Facebook posts, TV commercials, and other messages from law firms offering their services to victims. Sokolove Law was among those law firms.

We are aware of the perception that we are opportunistic “ambulance chasers,” but at the end of the day, we are just looking to help those in need. Sokolove Law believes the public has the right to remain educated about their rights and their entitlement to representation. Choosing a lawyer is a personal decision, and whether victims choose Sokolove Law or another law firm, they need to simply be aware of their right to legal counsel and how they can protect themselves.

The Public Needs to Know Their Rights

Following a tragedy like the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, victims are not necessarily thinking about their legal options. They are worried about (and rightfully so) surviving, healing, paying their bills, and seeing their family members again.

However, obtaining legal representation can be extremely important to accident victims and their families. Time is of the essence, and acting quickly to select an attorney can help victims secure the compensation they need to pay medical bills, recoup lost wages, and even cover funeral costs. Additionally, there is no doubt that Amtrak sought legal counsel immediately after the accident. What would a train derailment victim say if Amtrak called for a statement or to negotiate a settlement? Acting without the guidance and knowledge of a seasoned attorney could limit their ability to recover what is deserved.

In a report of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Task Force on Lawyer Advertising from May 2007, the option of instituting a 30-day blackout window for client solicitation after a personal injury or wrongful death was discussed, but ultimately rejected. The report stated:

While an arbitrary no solicitation period would likely reduce unwanted and distasteful post-accident solicitation practices, there are many occasions where clients and their personal representatives will desire to act promptly to secure counsel or ensure either the preservation of evidence at an accident scene, the investigation of the facts and circumstances underlying the accident or to confirm interim provisions for funding of medical care.

Contacting a lawyer after an accident is not about suing a person or company for everything they have—it’s about making sure you are not financially ruined by the potentially extreme costs associated with this type of tragedy. It is also about ensuring you are compensated appropriately for the pain and suffering you have endured due to the negligent actions of another.

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