The New Jersey State Senate and Assembly passed a law on Monday making it a criminal offense for attorneys to solicit accident victims with direct mail within the first 30 days of an accident. Anyone who has been in any kind of accident in New Jersey that has resulted in the filing of a police report is aware that, within about 24 hours of the accident, the parties involved receive several direct solicitations from attorneys offering their services. This law, if signed by the governor, would make it a crime for attorneys to send those solicitations.
The solicitation bill, A-4430/S-2316, provides that “no person shall solicit professional employment from, or contact, a person whose name, address or other personal information was obtained from a public record of a motor vehicle accident for a period of 30 days after the date on which the accident occurred.” The bill makes a violation of this law a third degree crime. Solicitations are excluded from the bill if the attorney had a previous professional business relationship. The bill also does not apply if the accident victim initiates the contact with the attorney, nor does it apply to recommendations or referrals by past clients, friends, relatives, or other individuals relying on the reputation of the attorney as long as the referral is not made for value. Finally, the bill does not apply to general advertising that is not directed at a specific accident victim.
The New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Mintz & Geftic, LLC do not engage in the practice of directly soliciting clients who are victims of accidents and strongly support the legislation. Nevertheless, we welcome calls from any accident victims in New Jersey so that we may provide a consultation and possible representation. The solicitation bill is also supported by the New Jersey Association for Justice and the New Jersey State Bar Association.
UPDATE: Governor Christie pocket-vetoed the bill, and therefore, the bill will not become law for the time-being.