According to a report featured by the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, Louisianans have been exposed to more than 250,000 ads for litigation-related services in the last half of 2018, a number that the organization says is too high.
Personal injury lawyers are highly active in Louisiana as they encourage clients to sue over car crashes rather than solve their disputes outside of the courtroom, LLAW argues.
Lana Venable, executive director of LLAW, said there's a need for reform in the trial attorney advertising sector.
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch Executive Director Lana Sonnier Venable | Photo courtesy of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch
“This study shows that Louisianans are being bombarded with TV ads for legal services – more than 250,000 ads aired across the state’s three largest media markets during the last half of 2018," Venable told the Louisiana Record. "These ads for lawyers, lawsuits and legal services translate into one legal services ad aired every minute on average in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport with a whopping price tag of about $16 million.”
According to Venable, these advertisements have a trickle-down effect on the state as a whole.
“The trial bar is spending millions on these often misleading ads promising ‘jackpot justice’ and impacting everything from auto insurance rates – the second-highest in the U.S. – to the cost of basic goods and services,” Venable said. “There is no doubt they are getting a return on this investment; you can’t turn on a television in any part of the state without being inundated.”
While individuals may believe that seeking out a larger settlement in the courts will be profitable for them, the reality is higher prices for everyone in the state, Venable said, making a bigger payout counterproductive.
“With this proliferation of advertising, it should come as no surprise that bodily injury claims resulting from auto accidents are nearly twice the national average in Louisiana," Venable said. "Further, most Louisiana drivers are uninsured or underinsured. This fact, coupled with these constant messages to seek legal action, encourages drivers to turn to the court system in hopes of larger payouts when an accident occurs. Consequently, all Louisianans are forced to pay higher premiums to compensate for this abuse of the system.”
The issue could get a hearing in the House of Representatives when it considers a measure that would have the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana State Bar Association review solicitation advertising rules for attorneys.