I contacted a website that promoted itself as helping with my injury claim. When I contacted them, all they did was refer me to a lawyer who had me sign a costs contract and then when I did he promptly abandoned my case and is now claiming costs from me. I am annoyed that the original service I contacted purported to help me and told me it was free of charge. Can I sue them?An issue that has arisen in respect to finding the right lawyer is that “claims harvesters” have moved in because of the advertising restrictions that apply to lawyers in personal injury.
The restrictions on advertising personal injury services only apply to lawyers, so if you are not a lawyer you are free to promote any and all personal injury services. These “claims harvesters” usually run websites that state that they are a free service and promote themselves as helping you with personal injury claims. Be aware – they are not lawyers and they have no interest in helping you. They are only interested in making money, either by selling you to a law firm for a “referral fee” or by channelling your course of action to a law practice in which they have a commercial stake as an owner. They sell the referrals to other firms.
It’s a deceptive way of making money – taking advantage of legislation. They too often refer the cases to separate entities that are law firms controlled by directors who own the referring agency, and they are not lawyers. These law firms are usually poorly run and get no work through word of mouth referral.
Under no circumstances should you allow your case to proceed through this channel.