Study: $226 Million Spent by Trial Lawyers on Advertising in Quarter 3 of 2018

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Jan. 10, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – Today, the American Tort Reform Association released a study showing spending in top media markets for TV ads from trial lawyers. “Have you been hurt? Call the number […]


Jan. 10, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – Today, the American Tort Reform Association released a study showing spending in top media markets for TV ads from trial lawyers.

“Have you been hurt? Call the number on your screen now because you may be entitled to compensation!” If it seems like these advertisements bombard nearly every TV commercial break, it’s because they do. In the third quarter of 2018 (July 1 – September 30), close to 3 million ads for legal services aired on local broadcast networks in the 210 local media markets across the U.S. – totaling $226 million in spending to purchase these ads. That’s an increase of $50 million over Quarter 2 spending.

The study looked at seven media markets and dissected trial lawyers’ spending on legal services ads in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, St. Louis, Kansas City and New York City. Nearly 14 percent of all local legal services television ad spending occurred in these seven markets in the third quarter of 2018.

“While these ads may be irritating, they also have negative effects further down the line,” American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce said. “These advertisements affect jurors’ perceptions of certain issues or products and increase the chance that a juror will enter a case with preconceived notions they would not have otherwise held.”

A survey conducted by Trial Partners, Inc. found that 90 percent of jurors would be somewhat or very concerned if they saw an advertisement claiming a company’s product injured people. Further, 72 percent of jurors agreed somewhat or strongly that if there are lawsuits against a company claiming its products have injured people then there is probably truth to the claim.

“Jury bias is not the only issue caused by rampant trial lawyer advertisements,” Joyce said. “Many ads will claim a certain prescription or medical device may cause harm, and without consulting a doctor, viewers who are prescribed these medications may cease use due to the fear created by unfounded advertisements.”

The FDA found that 61 patients stopped using their prescribed blood-thinner medications, Xarelto or Pradaxa, after viewing these commercials in 2016. Six of the patients died – three from stroke, one from cardiac arrest, one from a pulmonary embolism, and one from an unreported cause.

Dr. Ilana Kutinsky, doctor for one of the deceased, directly associated these ads with patients’ deaths and was quoted in Forbes saying: “Patients are dying because they are afraid to take the medications prescribed for them due to the fear brought on by these negative and one-sided campaigns.”

In New York City, the country’s largest media market, more than 23,000 legal services ads aired – at a cost of nearly $8.6 million during the three-month period. Trial lawyers spent 58 times more money on advertisements than home centers and hardware stores spent. This is an increase of $2.3 million in spending on legal ads when compared with the second quarter of 2018.

On the west coast in California’s Top 2 media markets – Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area – ad spending increased considerably in the third quarter with totals of $9.4 million and $2.5 million respectively. Los Angeles area viewers actually saw fewer ads in the third quarter than they saw in the second quarter, but spending increased by 24 percent. San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose area viewers saw both more ads and more money spent with $2.5 million spent on more than 21,000 ads – a spend increase of nearly 40 percent.

Other top media markets between July and September for spending on ads by trial lawyers are:

  • Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida – 57,000 ads for $4.6 million
  • Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – 29,000 ads for $4.5 million
  • Louis, Missouri – 14,000 ads for $1.2 million
  • Kansas City, Missouri – 20,000 ads for $1 million

To view the full report on trends in trial lawyer advertising, visit ATRA.org.

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