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Geoff Trachtenberg
Geoff Trachtenberg
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Attorney Referrals Used to Show Bias In Personal Injury Suits

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It might surprise you, but defense lawyers salivate over attorney referrals to medical providers. Indeed, “attorney referral” is even a factor in the pre-litigation “evaluation” systems used by insurers.

Defense lawyers make the argument that, where a tort victim goes to an attorney and gets a doctor referral, the injured person’s care is suspect and/or “attorney-driven,” regardless of any other facts or even whether or not they actually believe it to be accurate. Regrettably, juries eat this up even though it is exceedingly common and even though, in my experience, I have never seen or heard of an attorney who meddles with a client’s medical care other than to simply make a referral for the client’s convenience or at the client’s request.

That is why it is my personal preference that client’s attempt to find their own medical providers without my assistance, and I especially like it when they have a primary care provider who makes any medical referrals. Nevertheless, there are those situations where a client simply needs a medical referral or, as is often the case, is impecunious and needs a medical provider who is willing to treat on a lien (i.e., wait for payment until the case resolves). In those cases, such referrals can and should be addressed directly with the jury, the reason for the referral should be explained and the arms-length relationship with the medical provider should be discussed. This way the jury is not left to wonder why the attorney made a referral or whether there is a “special relationship” with the attorney and the medical provider.