“Inflated” Medical Costs Among Gripes of Trucking Company Insurers
Do personal injury attorneys use doctors who they know to distort the amount of harm caused to their clients? This is among the concerns that trucking company insurers are raising as the trucking industry battles an unprecedented number of lawsuits.
Texas is a state which heavily regulates the types of tort lawsuits that can be filed against companies. Such lawsuits are seen as sapping the profitability of key industries. However, Texas is a state in which several trucking company accidents have resulted in criminal charges against drivers. It is not unusual for a trucker to face a criminally negligent homicide charge when vehicle maintenance results in a traffic fatality.
Now, Texas has become the battleground for a new piece of legislation that seeks to prevent personal injury lawyers from teaming up with doctors to provide workups for their clients that allegedly exaggerate their clients’ injuries to extract more money from the trucking company.
What is Our Job as Personal Injury Attorneys?
Legal ethics are not the same as morality. An attorney has a fiduciary duty to represent their client to the best of their ability. Injured clients who seek out personal injury attorneys to litigate claims against defendants only have one chance to settle or resolve this claim. The stakes are often high as injury victims are unable to work and have families that depend on their income. In other words, our duty is not to concern ourselves with the trucking industry as a whole or the cost of transporting goods. Our duty is to recover the largest settlement possible for our client. To consider any other issue would be a breach of our fiduciary duty to our client.
However, lawyers aren’t allowed to lie on behalf of clients and they aren’t allowed to fabricate medical reports that appear to show injuries that are far more serious than our client’s actual injuries. In fact, that would also be a breach of legal ethics. Lawyers also owe a duty to the law.
While it would certainly be wrong for a lawyer to hire a doctor who would exaggerate the amount of harm caused to our client, insurance companies also hire doctors to perform examinations on clients with the opposite purpose—to diminish the amount of harm.
Is What These Lawyers are Doing Illegal?
With consideration to whether or not the allegations are true or the size and scope of the problem, it would be illegal to have a doctor charge exorbitant rates for unnecessary tests, procedures, and treatments. In fact, it would be fraud. The doctor would be guilty of fraud, the lawyer would be guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, and the trucking companies would have a right to be upset. So, you have a situation where people are sounding the alarm that attorneys and doctors are committing fraud, but a solution already exists—prosecute them. But insurance companies don’t get to dictate what your medical expenses are and who you should receive treatment from.
Talk to a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a large trucking accident, the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert will do everything in our power to see that you get the best possible resolution for your injuries. But we won’t commit fraud. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.