By Francis M. Smith
In today's increasingly high-tech world, search engines and online ads can sometimes seem to know more about your life than you do – your location, career, hobbies, what you shop for, and anything else you may have typed into a search bar. Many people find this loss of privacy a bit disconcerting, but it's even more surprising when it happens away from the internet. If you've been in a car accident, you may have already discovered a handful of letters, pamphlets, and other promotional materials from lawyers in your area, or far outside your area, offering you their services and representation in your eventual injury claim. You haven't sought out contact with these attorneys, so how do they know who you are and that you've been in a car accident? And maybe more importantly, what should you do in response, if anything?
Even before the internet began eroding the barrier between the public and private spheres, there were many ways for lawyers to get hold of personal details about people who had been in accidents – some more honest than others. Reading the police blotter in the daily newspaper turns up plenty of identifying information about anyone involved in an accident serious enough to cause injury. With some basic research, these lawyers can fill in the remaining blanks, finding your date of birth and home address.