“Anti-Ambulance Chasing” Bill in Texas Called Unconstitutional by Federal Court of Appeals

Texas Car InsuranceA ruling against a Texas “anti-ambulance chasing” bill has been reversed by a federal appeals court, saying that the decision of the lower court was unconstitutional. 

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling was determined by the Austin-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to have been made in error, regarding a 2009 law that was enacted in Texas, and that was, according to the federal court of appeals, unconstitutional.  The bill had to do with the solicitation of victims of car accidents within the first thirty days after the collision occurred. 

The primary part of the bill that was contested by the appeals court had to do with the regulation of solicitation for hiring a surgeon, physician, chiropractor,  attorney, or a private investigator with a certification, license, or registration with a health care regulatory agency within Texas. 

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Rep. Todd Smith had passed House Bill 148 in 2009 within the Texas state legislature.  It was an expansion on the existing statute that banned written solicitations, so that it would also include solicitations in person and by phone.

 Both the appeals court in question and the U.S. Supreme court have both set a precedent that underlined the significance of “protecting the privacy of accident victims within the first 30 days after their accident,” and they have reiterated that it is in the best interest of the state to provide more substantial protection of that privacy.  

According to an Insurance Council of Texas and Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud spokesperson, Mark Hanna, the decision of the Fifth Circuit permits prosecutors to target the significant illegal solicitation that is occurring in every large Texas city.  He added that it is a big step in the battle against insurance fraud and to help to maintain the privacy of the public.

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