April 17, 2015 • Legal Terminology
Who is a Runner?
When we talk about a runner in personal injury cases, we are not talking about marathons and jogging. A runner is someone who facilitates signing up new personal injury cases, and this type of work or behavior is illegal in the State of New York.
These runners, actually go to hospitals, and attempt to sign people up, who are being treated for their injuries. For instance, a runner will walk into a hospital room of a victim involved in a car accident, and hand him a business card of an attorney.
The runner will sympathize and tell the victim that he knows about the accident, and that the victim should call this attorney if he wanted professional help to claim compensation. Now, suppose you are the victim, you do not know who this person is, and you did not ask for an attorney. What the runner did is called solicitation, and it is illegal in New York and not permitted.
A Typical Scenario
Here is a typical scenario involving a runner. An attorney refers a case to another lawyer, and this lawyer finds the injured victim sitting in the attorney’s office along with another person. The personal injury lawyer immediately starts asking questions about the accident to the victim, and mentions to the victim that he will need to get copies of his medical records.
The person accompanying the victim joins the conversation and says he already has the records, and that too the originals. The lawyer is shocked, as copies of medical records take time to acquire and nobody gives the originals. On questioning this person, the lawyer finds out that this person is working in the records department of the hospital and is involved in soliciting injured accident victims to take the services of personal injury attorneys.
A runner could be somebody working in a hospital or someone who scours hospitals trying to find recent accident victims who are admitted for treatment. The runner tries to sell the services of a personal injury lawyer to accident victims in order to earn some kind of fees. This type of solicitation is illegal in New York, and a lawyer could get into serious trouble if it is later found out that a runner was instrumental in providing the case.
If You are Approached by a Runner
If you are in a hospital and you are recuperating from injuries suffered in an accident, or due to negligence of a doctor, there is a possibility that someone might approach you and give you an attorney’s card. Even if you have seen the person in the hospital before, but have never asked for an attorney, you should know that this person is a runner.
These runners will appear sympathetic and may show that they care about your condition, but their only objective is to sell you the services of an attorney. Therefore, you can either report runner to authorities or simply tear up the cards that they provide.