2010 Georgia Code
O.C.G.A. 33-24-53 (2010)
TITLE 33 - INSURANCE
CHAPTER 24 - INSURANCE GENERALLY
ARTICLE 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 33-24-53 - Compensation for referrals or recommendations to attorneys prohibited; penalties
33-24-53. Compensation for referrals or recommendations to attorneys prohibited; penalties
(a) In a claim arising out of a motor vehicle accident, a lawyer shall not compensate or give anything of value to a person or organization to recommend or secure his employment by a client, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in his employment by a client; except that he may pay for public communications permitted by Standard 5 of Bar Rule 4-102 and the usual and reasonable fees or dues charged by a bona fide lawyer referral service operated by an organization authorized by law and qualified to do business in this state; provided, however, such organization has filed with the State Disciplinary Board, at least annually, a report showing its terms, its subscription charges, agreements with counsel, the number of lawyers participating, and the names and addresses of lawyers participating in the service. Upon conviction of an offense provided for by this subsection, the prosecutor shall certify such conviction to the disciplinary board of the State Bar of Georgia for appropriate action. Such action may include a suspension or disbarment.
(b) With respect to a motor vehicle insurance benefit or claim, a health care provider shall not compensate or give anything of value to a person to recommend or secure the provider's service to or employment by a patient or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in the provider's service to or employment by a patient, except that the provider may pay the reasonable cost of advertising or written communication as permitted by rules of professional conduct. Upon a conviction of an offense provided for by this subsection, the prosecutor shall certify such conviction to the appropriate boards for appropriate action. Such action may include a suspension or revocation of the health care provider's license.
(c) With respect to a motor vehicle accident, no employee of any law enforcement agency shall allow any person, including an attorney, health care provider, or their agents, to examine or obtain a copy of any accident report or related investigative report when the employee knows or should reasonably know that the request for access to the report is for commercial solicitation purposes. No person shall request any law enforcement agency to permit examination or to furnish a copy of any such report for commercial solicitation purposes. For purposes of this subsection, a request to examine or obtain a copy of a report is for "commercial solicitation purposes" if made at a time when there is no relationship between the person or his principal requesting the report and any party to the accident, and there is no apparent reason for the person to request the report other than for purposes of soliciting a business or commercial relationship. All persons, except law enforcement personnel and persons named in the report, shall be required to submit a separate written request to the law enforcement agency for each report. Such written request shall state the requestor's name, address, and the intended use of the report in sufficient detail that the law enforcement agency may ascertain that the intended use is not for commercial solicitation purposes. The law enforcement agency shall file each written request with the original report. No person shall knowingly make any false statement in any such written request.
(d) A person may not receive compensation, a reward, or anything of value in return for providing names, addresses, telephone numbers, or other identifying information of victims involved in motor vehicle accidents to an attorney or health care provider which results in employment of the attorney or health care provider by the victims for purposes of a motor vehicle insurance claim or suit. Attempts to circumvent this Code section through use of any other person, including, but not limited to, employees, agents, or servants, shall also be prohibited. This provision shall not prohibit an attorney or health care provider from making a referral and receiving compensation as is permitted under applicable professional rules of conduct.
(e) Any person who violates any provision of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
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