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Lawyers spend $15.6 million soliciting their services and alarming citizens MAY 23, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – Today, the American Tort Reform Association released its first report on trial lawyer advertising in […]
Lawyers spend $15.6 million soliciting their services and alarming citizens
MAY 23, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – Today, the American Tort Reform Association released its first report on trial lawyer advertising in Louisiana. The report analyzes spending and frequency of legal services ads in three major Louisiana media markets.
These ads telling consumers, “Don’t settle for quick cash – call now to get what you’re entitled to,” frequent television screens across the country. In the second half of 2018, nearly one-quarter-million ads for legal services aired across in New Orleans, Shreveport and Baton Rouge – with a total media buy of $15.6 million.
“We know these ads may be irritating or even comical at times, but they absolutely have negative effects on consumers and businesses,” American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce said.
Not surprisingly given the volume of ads by personal injury lawyers, Louisiana residents are 60 percent more likely to file lawsuits following auto accidents than claimants in the rest of the nation. According to the Insurance Research Council, Louisiana has the most expensive insurance rates in the nation, and claimants in the state report bodily injury from auto accidents at double the national rate.
The problem of lawyer advertising is pervasive – Louisiana’s top media market, New Orleans, saw more than 120,000 trial lawyer advertisements at a cost of nearly $7 million in the last half of 2018. On average, NOLA area TV viewers saw 19 legal services ads for every local medical or dental insurance ad.
“The ads do more than drive up insurance costs for Louisianans, they also perpetuate the cycle of litigation and make Louisiana a less attractive place for businesses to move or grow,” Joyce said. “These companies see a very litigious area and have to factor in the risks associated with doing business in a state like Louisiana.”
Further, these ads have been directly associated with patients’ deaths. In 2016, the FDA found that 61 patients stopped using their prescribed blood-thinner medications, Xarelto or Pradaxa, after viewing these commercials, and six of the patients died. Dr. Ilana Kutinsky, doctor for one of the deceased, stated before Congress: “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.”
During the six-month period that included an election season, Shreveport area viewers saw 19 legal services ads for every state or local campaign ad. The lawyers spent $2.5 million on nearly 50,000 advertisements between July and December of 2018. In Baton Rouge, which is half the size of the New Orleans market, trial lawyer advertisers spent nearly as much as they did in the largest market – approximately $6.1 million for more than 80,000 ads. That means trial lawyer ads ran eight times as often as fast foods ads in Baton Rouge.
Senate President Pro-Tem Gerald Long (R-Winnfield) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 37 which requests a review of attorney advertising by the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana Bar Association. The resolution has passed the Senate and is awaiting a final vote in the House.
“I’m encouraged that Senator Long has introduced this resolution and the legislature is taking action to move forward,” Joyce said. “This resolution is an important first step to shine a light on the scourge of trial lawyer advertising.”
View the latest report on trial lawyer advertising trends in Louisiana at ATRA.org.
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