Solicitations plague wreck victims - WSMV Channel 4

Solicitations plague wreck victims

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

If you're in a wreck, your name is worth cash to telemarketers.

Mark Hughes found that out when his phone starting ringing about a week after he was hit in an early November accident. No one was hurt.

He got four calls from groups that sounded like non-profit services for victims; one even called from Georgia.

"His message said he was Dr. Jim Taylor, and he told me, 'I have some very important information, you need to give me a call,'" Hughes told Channel 4.

When Hughes started to track those phone numbers on an Internet site, he found that a lot of other accident victims were getting the same calls. They were referred to a chiropractic clinic, who would then send them to a lawyer.

"The progression of events, if all goes well, for them, is to have a visit to the clinic, then, to an attorney, for a baseless lawsuit," Hughes said.

One of the clinics that several telemarketed accident victims said they'd been sent to is Capitol Chiropractic, also doing business as Westgate Health Services, Capitol Branch, in Nashville.  Channel 4 reporter Nancy Amons left a card for the doctor at that practice but did not receive a return call.

Channel 4 first told you about accident victim solicitations in 1996. There are companies that get paid to get your phone number from an accident report at the police department; that part is legal; but chiropractors are required by the state to wait at least 30 days before they call accident victims. That's not what happened in Hughes' case.

The new twist in the process is that some believe  telemarketers are now calling from out of state, hoping to get around the 30-day law.

It doesn't always work. The state board that governs chiropractors tells us they have disciplined a number of chiropractors for violating telemarketing rules over the last several years. One chiropractor lost his license over it.

Hughes feels the board ought to take a closer look at a problem that's continued for years.

"I think it would be in their best interest for the good of the organization, for the professionals,  to want to weed out the bad apples," Hughes said.

Anyone who wants to file a complaint against a chiropractor, or any other licensed health professional, can call the state's toll-free hotline at 1-800-852-2187, or visit the state's website for a form.

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