Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Medical Justice

Making healthcare safe for doctors


Ambulance Chasers on Mobile Phones

05/29/18 2:17 PM

When you vote, supporters for a candidate carrying leaflets and signs have to stay outside of some defined perimeter. You’re not supposed to be pestered as you walk into the voting booth.

And, there are billboards of personal injury attorneys not too far from hospitals. But, you’d never see an ad for a personal injury attorney in the ER.

Unless you own a phone.

One NY based firm, Tell All Digital explains how it works.

A personal injury law firm contracts with a digital marketing company. They want to send ads to a target rich location. The emergency room is a natural fit.

“Is everybody in an emergency room going to need an attorney? Absolutely not,” Kakis (who runs Tell All Digital) says. “But people that are going to need a personal injury attorney are more than likely at some point going to end up in an emergency room.”

The advertisers identify a location grabbing a “phone ID” from Wi-Fi, cell tower data, or apps using GPS. The ads are targeted to a location, like the emergency department. Once a user crosses the “digital fence” they may see such ads for a lawyer for a month. The digital trail lingers.

At least one state attorney general takes issue with using such personal information to serve ads.

In a related case, a Massachusetts digital-based advertising firm sent advertisements from a religiously-affiliated pregnancy counseling and adoption agency to those entering Planned Parenthood offices.

Massachusetts Attorney General claimed the ads violated the state’s consumer protection act as the ads were “unfair and deceptive.” The digital firm was banned from doing business in the state.

This same Attorney General argues that directing ads at people seeking medical care is a form of digital harassment.

Also, lawyers are beholden to a strict code of ethics which defines how they can advertise. Lawyers are not supposed to sit in the ER handing out their card. That would result in an ethical violation. And, you cannot have a third party perform what you are forbidden from doing on your own.  It will be interesting to see if any state Bar puts the kibosh on geofence digital marketing.

I think the whole practice is creepy. What do you think? Weigh in using the comments box below. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter for weekly content.

Feeling the pressure? Learn how we can protect you…

We know your time is valuable. Spend a few minutes with us and discover how membership protects what’s important to good medical practice – and does away with what’s detrimental…

Posted by Medical Justice | in Legal | 4 Comments »

Leave a Reply

4 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
AriZiga TretjakMichael Rosenblatt Recent comment authors
newest oldest
Notify of
Ziga Tretjak
Ziga Tretjak

Were it not dead serious, I would say it is ironic how lawyers can get away with practices they sue us for

Michael Rosenblatt
Michael Rosenblatt

Dr. Tretjak is correct. There are other regulations as well.Among the most egregious are the Stark Law, which “felonize” doctors for business practices that are fully allowed among attorneys and other businesses.. While we blame Congress and liberals for these regulations, there is also a reasonable argument that our political leaders sat back and permitted Congress to enact these. And we could still fight back if we had the willingness to act as a collective and fight them. All healthcare providers could coalesce and form a political unit to reverse the Stark laws. This would be a political initiative against… Read more »

Ziga Tretjak
Ziga Tretjak

Hear, hear, Dr Rosenblatt


Turn off the location service on your phone at all possible times!