Chasing Ambulances

Lawyers - don't you just love them!

Lawyers – don’t you just love them!

You’re probably familiar with the term ‘ambulance chasers.’ It refers to the stereotypical view of lawyers listening in on police scanners to be informed about road accidents, then dashing to the scene to offer their services to the victims. Or they could be following ambulances with their sirens blaring out, with the same aim in mind. The legal profession doesn’t always enjoy the best of reputations and will tell you that this is undeserved, though the fact that the practice has a formal name and has been made illegal in many countries suggests otherwise:

Official name for ambulance chasing

Official name for ambulance chasing

My most recent experience of lawyers was the one who represented my ex-wife during our divorce. As I was representing myself I got the full force of his arrogance and ‘superior knowledge’ though karma had its day: his firm closed down suddenly and without warning, although there were a number of rumours as to why. But I digress!

One of the downsides of our modern, high tech world is that it is very easy for unpleasant practices like ambulance chasing to be reinvented. I received this text message yesterday:

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No doubt many have had texts like this, I’m not suggesting that I’m unique and it is far from the first time for me! Like me, virtually all recipients will not have had an accident and will recognise this at once for what it is: a scam. But some will be greedy or gullible enough to click on the link and dive into the abyss. No doubt you’ve also had the telephone calls where they find it hard to believe that their information is wrong and you haven’t had an accident. Occasionally they turn quite rude too. And this is supposedly the ‘human’ face of the rip off, all in breach of the UK’s Telephone Preference Service, which seems powerless to prevent this.

Since I retired I’ve seen more daytime TV than previously, and have noticed how many advertisements there are from companies offering their services to claim on your behalf. In the UK these include Irwin Mitchell, Slater & Gordon, Injury Lawyers 4 U, Money 4 Us (maybe not that one). Adverts inviting you to reclaim PPI payments via them, instead of doing it yourself, are all over the place: Facebook is full of them! Presumably they are making enough money to afford TV adverts and to generate a good profit. But why do people trust them and use them? To my mind, they are predators seeking out the weak and vulnerable.

I’m not suggesting that the whole legal profession is like this, far from it! The huge majority are hard-working, honest people who provide a very necessary service. It is this extreme end of the industry that I take exception to, the methods they use and the fact that they seem to get away with it despite any attempt to regulate them. I hope they feel proud of themselves when they go home at night.

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