New legislation in Texas has now become law, making it illegal for health professionals and lawyers to solicit victims of crashes inside the first thirty days of the crash.
The law was supported by Rep. Todd Smith of Euless, leading House Bill 148 to be approved by lawmakers after having already received Governor Rick Perry’s signature back in 2009.
Though the law has been considered to be a long time coming by many, it was not without its critics. For example, Christopher Villasana and Donald McKinley are Texas chiropractors who had filed suit to halt the bill from being passed, as they claimed that their business would be harmed by it. In that case, federal Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin agreed with the chiropractors, so that there was never any enforcement for the legislation.
Yeakel’s decision was appealed by the Office of the Texas Attorney General at the New Orleans 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The result of the appeal was an overturning of Judge Yeakel’s ruling on June 8, 2011. The plaintiff had made a motion for a rehearing, but it has been refused by the 5th Circuit Court.
On the supporting side, the final ruling of the 5th Circuit Court has been applauded by the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud as a notable victory for an individual’s ability to maintain personal privacy, as well as in the struggle to minimize fraudulent insurance claims.
According to Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud spokesperson, Mark Hanna, the enforcement of this new law will be a significant “step toward eliminating frivolous lawsuits and questionable medical treatment. Its ultimate success will be our goal of lowering auto insurance rates.”