Home > Uncategorized > Proposed Legislation Would Make Runners, Cappers, and Steerers Liable Too!

Proposed Legislation Would Make Runners, Cappers, and Steerers Liable Too!

Hello, dear readers!

It’s Wednesday, and your humble blogger brings you something interesting from California’s Legislature.

Assembly Member Tom Daly, of California’s 69th Assembly District, has introduced Assembly Bill 686, which would essentially grant a hunting permit to any “interested party” for runners, cappers, or steerers in the workers’ compensation arena.

For those that aren’t familiar with the concept, most states, California included, frown upon the practice of doctors and lawyers paying people to bring in potential clients. This includes ambulance chasers…

However, unlike the depiction above, many attorneys are far too busy to do the running, capping, and steering themselves – so they hire other folks to do the leg-work for them.

Assembly Bill 686 would extend the current prohibition on employing runners, cappers, and steerers, to also prohibit acting as runners, cappers, and steerers.  So, when you see a less-than-respectable fellow walking around, from hospital room to hospital room, promising millions for injuries sustained at work, this bill, if enacted into law, would enable an interested party to sue the runners themselves, rather than just the puppeteer.

Presumably, the potential for disgorgement and civil liability would motivate a runner to roll over on said puppeteer, leading to deeper pockets to make the victim-insurer and employer whole.  Presumably, this would also make those attorneys (and doctors) who employ runners, cappers, and steerers, wary of retaining them for fear of being betrayed.

Here’s hoping.

But, what’s the big deal, right?  If a zealous and devoted attorney wants to help those injured at work, and is willing to undertake the expense of making knowledge of the existence of his or her services available to the injured workers, what’s so bad about that?

Here’s what’s bad about that: “Why are you going back to work?  We can get you a big stack of money, some great drugs, and you get to go back to work like nothing ever happened.” “Oh, well, in that case, sure, sign me up!”

Mr. Capper gets his $500 (the going rate, your humble blogger is informed by a source here and there), and the attorney (or doctor) gets a fresh client/patient to run with.

In other words, whereas an injury could have resulted in conservative care and return to work, suddenly, an injured worker’s expectations are falsely manipulated (increased to allow a pay-day for all those that would benefit from an injured worker’s plight) and the insurer and employer are forced to bear the costs of unnecessary litigation.

Furthermore, the legitimate, honest, and good-faith applicants’ attorneys and treating physicians have to compete with the guys for business. They have to compete with practitioners who employer runners, cappers, and steerers for the reputation and nature of the business.

It’s a practice that harms the process and all those involved with it, and I would welcome this, among other, efforts to stop it.

Here’s hoping that this piece of legislation flies from the pages of your humble blogger’s blog to the Governor’s desk in a hurry.

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