In addition to those local ads, Florida viewers were also exposed to $71 million worth of national legal services ads. 45,000 of these ads were broadcast nationally, appearing on major cable networks. Of those ads, approximately 60% solicited claims related to alleged injuries caused by pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices and agricultural products.
Over the three-month span (July-September), television viewers were exposed to 39 days’ worth of local trial lawyer advertisements.
The new report from the ATRA comes as deceptive ads from lawyers are gaining new attention from federal regulators. The Federal Trade Commission sent letters to various law firms and others, flagging their ads soliciting clients for personal injury lawsuits against drug manufacturers as potentially “unlawful.”
“Misleading advertisements drum up fear in an attempt to gain clients, but there are serious repercussions and in the worst scenarios, the cost can be human life,” Tiger Joyce, President of the American Tort Reform Association said.
As Florida legislators reconvene at the Capitol for week three of the Legislative Session, Republican lawmakers are making it a priority to protect Florida consumers from bad actors in the legal profession. Senator Tom Wright has introduced a bill (SB 1288), which addresses legal advertisements by aiming to ensure consumers are not misled and that protected health information is not misused.
Florida was a mainstay on ATRA’s list of “Judicial Hellholes” for many years, but in the 2019-2020 report was moved to the “Watch List.”
“Taking action on deceptive legal advertisements would be another positive step for the Sunshine State to work toward finally shaking its reputation as a Judicial Hellhole,” Joyce said.
View the full report on legal services advertising in Florida, click HERE.