Ambulance chasing

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Ambulance chasing, sometimes known as barratry, is a professional slur which refers to a lawyer soliciting for clients at a disaster site. The term "ambulance chasing" comes from the stereotype of lawyers that follow ambulances to the emergency room to find clients.[1] The phrase ambulance chaser is also used more loosely as a derogatory term for a personal injury lawyer.[2]


Ambulance chasing is prohibited in the United States. Such conduct violates Rule 7.3[3] of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Some bar associations strongly enforce rules against barratry. For example, the State Bar of California dispatches investigators to large-scale disaster scenes to discourage ambulance chasers, and to catch any who attempt to solicit business from disaster victims at the scene.[4]

In the UK, Indicative Behaviour (IB) 8.5 of the Solicitors Regulation Authority Code of Conduct 2011 specifies that "approaching people in the street, at ports of entry, in hospital or at the scene of an accident" is to be taken as an indication of non-compliance with the SRA Principles. [5]

Other uses[edit]

The term has also been used to refer to disreputable motorsport journalists who cover racing crashes in a tabloid style with little respect for those who may have been injured or killed.[6]

In scientific literature the term “ambulance chasing” refers to a socio-scientific phenomenon manifest as a surge in the number of preprint papers on a particular topic. In particular it refers to interpretation papers published quickly after a new anomalous measurement has been produced. [7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Garner, Bryan A. (2011). Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage (3 ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-538420-8.
  2. ^ "Ambulance Chaser". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 2017-09-04. A lawyer who is eager to bring personal injury lawsuits.
  3. ^ Model Rules of Professional Conduct - Rule 7.3 Direct Contact With Prospective Clients - Center for Professional Responsibility
  4. ^ Nancy McCarthy, "Public protection takes center stage in disaster" Archived 2011-08-11 at the Wayback Machine, State Bar Journal, March 2005, pages unknown.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Mihailo Backović. "A theory of ambulance chasing"