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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:18 AM
Original message
The Car Accident Industry Is Doing Just Fine
A couple of weeks ago, I had a very minor collision in a supermarket parking lot. A guy backed into my car as I drove slowly down a lane in the lot. Both cars were perfectly drivable, but got dented up a bit. Nobody was injured in any way. Still, the local police showed up and wrote up the incident.

The other driver's insurance company paid for the damage to my vehicle within a week of the incident. Since the car is not worth very much, I'm just going to live with the dents and use the money more wisely. I thought that was it. Not a chance. As of yesterday, I've had four very official-looking letters from personal injury attorneys, and half a dozen impressive packages of literature from various chiropractic clinics in the area. One of them, as pictured below, even included a DVD of some kind (it'll make a great coaster), along with the universal offer of a free examination and massage to ease the pain of my accident...even if I don't have any pain. Nothing wrong with this, and I'm sure all of those attorneys and Chiropractors are quite legitimate.



What's remarkable to me is that there is an entire industry built around car accidents. Someone has to be visiting the police departments in the area and collecting the accident reports, then selling the lists of people involved in accidents to the personal injury lawyers and chiropractic clinics in the area. All of these then send out packages of literature to every accident victim, hoping to attract them to their businesses.

Given the cost of these direct mail campaigns, it's clear that there's money to be made in the car accident business. How much money? I don't know, but given the low return on direct-mail advertising, it has to be plenty. Again, there's nothing at all wrong with soliciting business from accident victims, and I'm sure that all of these companies and individuals who contacted me are legitimate, but you do have to wonder just how much impact this has on our car insurance rates.

I'm very glad nobody was injured in the minor collision I was involved in. I appreciate all the interest in my well-being shown by all of those who sent me expensive mailings. I won't be contacting any of you, even though those expensive massages sound great, but you did give me a topic for today's blog entry. Something good comes from everything, it seems.

www.osomin.com
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
1. If these guys don't quit, PI Attorneys and Chiropractors will the the joke of their professions.
Dial 1-800-axe-gary
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:24 AM
Response to Original message
2. Bunch of fucking weasels.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I'm not calling them names...
I just think it's way, way overdone, and it appears to be a symptom of something that is wrong with our insurance system. I think it extends to the health insurance system, as well. If the insurance will pay, why not take advantage of some nice massages, etc., at someone else's expense?

If the insurance will pay, why not get your doctor to prescribe that new feel-good drug that costs a fortune? Why not just go ahead and get another MRI on your sore shoulder, instead of getting the one you had last month sent over to the orthopod you're visiting? The insurance will pay...so who cares?

That is the problem. Notice the warning in that literature, telling you that even if you don't have any pain...you really need to get checked out. Don't worry...the insurance will pay...

This is frustrating stuff...
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. Well, I have no reservations about calling them names. Weasels, plain and simple.
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
3. They're desperate to pay their own bills
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 09:28 AM by lunatica
And this is how they do it.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Absolutely. They're not doing anything illegal, and I know
that chiropractic care can be of use in some conditions. I'm not really blaming these people, and I said that. It's the whole system that's out of whack, and we're all paying for it in our insurance premiums. That package pictured had to cost the Chiropractic clinic at least $5 to deliver to me. How many do they send out in a busy metro area? How much are we paying, through our insurance premiums to support this?
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Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
6. It's America.
Nothing works unless it's an industry.

I discovered this some years ago when my Wife and I were involved with providing a few meals to homeless people. It turned out that Homelessness was an industry with support systems and its own jargon.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
7. It's people like you responsible for the recession
You really are a hideous person if you're not going to do your part to pump up the GNP. "Use the money more wisely", Hah! I'll bet you're going to SAVE it, maybe even under the mattress, where even a bank won't be able to relend it out 12 or 14 times. Don't you know you're supposed to go out and shop at the local mall? Why I'll even bet one of those lawyers could put you in touch with a place that will let you borrow on your future settlement and you could be dropping quarters in the slot machine at the closet casino tonight.
What's the matter with you? :spank:
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. You're right, of course. I felt so bad for the auto body shop
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 09:48 AM by MineralMan
that did the free estimate on my vehicle that I sent them $50 after I got the check from the other driver's insurance company. I just couldn't let them do the estimate without compensation when I had no intention of repairing the cosmetics on that car. Frankly, the amount of the insurance check exceeded the value of the vehicle. Since it's still running just fine, it earned me some money. I like that car better now. :bounce:
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
8. I'm a traffic attorney in New Jersey and I got a ticket for going through a red light when in fact
it was yellow.

I received a dozen solicitations in the mail from my brethren, telling me how serious my situation was, the points, the fine, my driving privilege in jeopardy, etc. Part of me was bemused, knowing full well my situation, likely better than they did. Then I thought of regular drivers who don't realize that in New Jersey you can plea bargain and downgrade your ticket with or without the benefit of counsel, and how these solicitations are confusing to a point. The attorneys are allowed access to anyone who has been given a traffic ticket by any particular municipality, their address and violation, and get busy.

And BTW, I've worked for these kinds of attorneys/law firms. They're mills. They don't even bother to get the driver's abstract/history of violations before trial. And yes, I have a beef: I was sent to represent a defendant in traffic court, I repeated what I was told (that the client had a clean driving record), and was humiliated when the prosecutor waved me over to show me not only two pages of violations but also a fresh violation within 3 months of the one we were handling. These attorneys get in, get out, and get their fee. I may not be Clarence Darrow, but I do take the time to research the law and my client.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. In my city, ads have been running regularly by
a local criminal attorney's office. On MSNBC, no less. The ad is sort of like the old destruction derby ads that used to run or the current ads for High-violence fighting shows. Lots of echo chamber stuff, flashing text, and the like.

Arrested for DUI? Sex Crimes? Burglary? Domestic Violence? Call Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe RIGHT NOW!

What I think is really funny is that they've gotten the tone of the ad down pat. They know their audience and are using the same techniques others use to attract that demographic.

Amazing stuff...

The local personal injury firms are competing with each other to see which can come up with the most moronic commercials. The best one so far is a sketch in an insurance adjuster's office, where the adjuster is telling his assistant that they'll just make the injured party wait, then make a lowball offer. The assistant then says, "But they hired Dumbass, Bimbo, and Dweeb." The adjuster dissolves into a crying baby..."OH NO!"

What's not said is that by the time the injured party gets his check, it will be less than the lowball offer, once the law firms fees are subtracted.

You pay nothing unless we win! Then, they settle with the insurance company, take their cut, plus expenses, and the injured party gets shit in compensation.
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madmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
11. Just an aside, if you had ANY kind of physical/bodily contact with the
car, PLEASE have it checked out. I had a fall about 15 years ago (in Kmart's produce section) all I asked for was they pay doctor bills to make sure nothing was broken. Well now my knee bothers me so much that when I first stand up after sitting more than 10 minutes I can't walk right away, I have to stand there and wait for by knee to "work" again. So it is VERY important to cover your bases! Wish I would have! :banghead:
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Thanks, but there wasn't even much of a bump.
Everything happened at less than 5 mph, and the cars absorbed all of the energy. No air bag deployment or anything. Just some expensive dents. I heard it more than felt it. Not a chance that either of us had any injury at all.

I understand that injuries can hide, but there weren't any injuries. I helped the other driver get his bumper cover off so he could drive his car, with my handy-dandy leatherman. I wasn't even upset by the accident. The guy who hit my car, though, had much more expensive damage than I did. I suppose his insurance rate will go up. I didn't even file a claim with my company, but dealt only with his.
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