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AG Warning: Chattanooga Residents should be cautious of Predatory Law Firms

Thursday, December 22, 2016 | 1:49pm

Dishonest firms may target families grieving from Woodmore Elementary school bus crash

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III is asking Chattanooga residents to be aware of predatory law firms seeking to profit from the Woodmore Elementary school bus tragedy on November 21, 2016.

While communities and families deal with the heartache and stress associated with tragedy, out-of-state law firms have been known to solicit business and coerce families into signing legal agreements that are difficult to understand. Often, these predatory firms use misleading or inaccurate information, offer incentives such as paying funeral costs in exchange for using their services, and promise millions in civil lawsuit awards. In some cases, salesmen hired by the law firm will portray themselves as licensed attorneys when they are not.

“It is sad that some attorneys attempt to exploit the grief of others and put profit above sincere assistance,” General Slatery said. “This deceptive behavior is not representative of our State’s legal community and no credible attorney would act this way. Our office will pursue anyone attempting to take advantage of the families in Chattanooga. We will use the full authority of this office to shut down this type of activity.”

Residents should be cautious of any attorney or law firm representative:

  • That contacts you within 30 days of a tragedy. It is a violation of Tennessee law for attorneys to solicit business within that time period.
  • That offers a guaranteed financial payout at the conclusion of your civil case.
  • That offers incentives such as covering funeral costs in exchange for using their services.
  • That pressures you into making a quick decision or signing a legal document you do not clearly understand.

Anyone who receives a suspicious solicitation or would like to file a complaint against an individual or company please contact the Consumer Division of the Attorney General’s Office (615) 741-1671.