Stiffer Penalties for Use of Runners""
June 11, 2014
A new bill increasing penalties for the use of “runners” to solicit clients following auto accidents was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal. “Runners” are individuals who engage in “ambulance chasing” by contacting injured victims or grieving families in order to persuade them to use a certain lawyer or health care provider for purposes of making an insurance claim. Runners then receive payments from those lawyers and health care providers for each client referred.
Georgia’s most recent effort to crack down on the use of runners replaces the existing O.C.G.A. § 33-24-53, which penalized lawyers or health care providers with suspension, disbarment or revocation of their of licenses for utilizing runners. The new code section adds criminal sanctions, punishing the first offense as a misdemeanor with a maximum 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 or less. A second offense constitutes a felony and brings a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000 per violation.
If you wish to further discuss these changes, please contact a Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers, LLP, attorney at 404.874.8800 or via our website, www.swiftcurrie.com.
The foregoing is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the full effect of these changes. Nothing in this notice should be construed as legal advice. This document is intended only to notify our clients and other interested parties about important recent developments. Every effort has been made to ascertain the accuracy of the information contained within this notice.