New Runner Law

New Runner Law

New Runner Law Protects the Rights of Injured Individuals

Over the past 20 years we have been using advertising to attract new clients while some law offices use the practice of paying “runners”. Runners are non–attorney individuals who solicit case information, from a variety of resources, to find people that have been in an accident. These individuals work with emergency employees, wrecker services, EMC, medical facilities, web based police reporting services, police department employees and others to obtain accident information. These runners are paid by a law firm for each case they bring in. This practice has been unlawful since 1981 but hard to enforce.

Effective July 1, 2014, O.C.G.A. 35-24-53 has been amended by House Bill 828, in the state of Georgia. This amendment has been created to prohibit solicitation, release, or sale of automobile accident information. It provides new definitions, exceptions, and penalties, relating to when public disclosure of records is not required, which will change provisions relating to written authorization to obtain motor vehicle accident reports, to repeal conflicting laws, and other general purposes. According to the amended Georgia Code section, it is against the law for a ‘runner’ to directly or indirectly solicit a client, patient, or customer at the direction of, or in cooperation with a practitioner or health care service provider, whose purpose is to obtain benefits under a contract. First time violators of the new code are charged with a misdemeanor and are subject to no less than 30 days imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.00. Upon a second or subsequent violation, an individual is charged with a felony and is subject to no more than 10 years imprisonment and up to a $100,000.00 fine per violation.

If you have been injured in an accident, it is vitally important that you remain aware of the potential of being approached by a runner, and the risks associated in signing a contract with them. Many law firms do not use this practice because it is against the law and they typically have a reputation that speaks for itself, such that a client will voluntarily seek out their services. You should always be wary of any individual that approaches you about representation for your injuries before you have independently reached out to an attorney. Runners have a tendency to exaggerate what the outcome of your case will be, and the quality of the representation that you will receive. Insurance companies are well aware of the runner practice and typically become concerned when someone signs under these terms. Signing a contract with a runner could be potentially detrimental to the overall value of your case. If you are approached by a runner, take as much of their information as possible, and then report the encounter to local law enforcement and the Georgia State Bar Association – 404-521-0777.

8 GEORGIA OFFICE LOCATIONS:

Albany Office

208 North Westover Blvd
Suite 101
Albany GA 31707
(229) 420-3660

Duluth Office

4227 Pleasant Hill Road
Building 11, Suite 300
Duluth GA 30096
(404) 875-0900

Atlanta Office

1355 Peachtree Street, NE
Suite 1000
Atlanta GA 30309
(404) 885-1983

Macon Office

487 Cherry Street
Suite 200
Macon, GA 31201
(478) 746-4048

Augusta Office

One 10th Street
Riverfront Center, Suite 550
Augusta GA 30901
(706) 724-1756

Savannah Office

1 Bull Street
Suite 400
Savannah GA 31401
(912) 447-5984

Columbus Office

1234 First Ave
Columbus
GA 31901
(706) 571-0900

Valdosta Office

2935 N. Ashley Street
Building H Suite 127
Valdosta, GA 31602
(229) 241-1767