Friday, January 25, 2008

Accidental Attraction

A couple of weeks ago, I was traveling down a back road towards work as I usually do. The main road is typically congested and, despite the back road being two miles longer in distance, it saves me about 5 minutes on my commute. Besides, it’s a pleasant road that passes a few horse farms and other scenic sites. But on this particular morning, there was a car stopped ahead of me to turn left into another road.

I came to a stop behind this other car and waited for them to turn. They were waiting on another approaching car to pass the other way first. Suddenly, above the noise from my radio, I heard screeching tires. I thought for sure that the approaching vehicle was going to crash right into the car in front of me. But the car started to cross the road with no problems, so I glanced in my rear-view mirror to look for the origin of the screeching noise. Nothing in sight…at least until I saw another car to the right of me, along the shoulder, sliding past me. The lady turned her steering wheel hard to her left to keep from sliding too far off the road, and eventually ran into my front right fender. Needless to say, this was not a great start to my day, but for some reason, I soon felt relieved and grateful that there were no injuries and the accident was essentially minor. (Note that "minor" resulted in $1600 damage to my car, but in the grand scheme of things, it was a minor inconvenience).

I had called my boss to tell him I’d be late for work, and also called my wife to basically let her know what had happened. When I arrived at work, word had apparently spread and everyone asked if I was okay. I was and I thanked them for their concern. The same situation occurred when I met my wife later that evening. I assured her and my kids that I was fine and that we’d have to get the car fixed soon. Again, gratefully, there was no real problems and the eventual insurance claims and car repairs went smoothly.

As it turns out, it seems more than co-workers and family was concerned for my well being. "I am sorry you were recently involved in an auto accident." "We are so sorry this misfortune has happened to you." "If you have been injured, we’re here to help." I have been virtually overwhelmed with good wishes and people who are concerned with my well being. In particular, 6 attorneys and 3 chiropractors have taken time out of their busy day to offer their condolences and assistance. How nice of them.

I suppose that if I had been injured and wanted to protect myself, I might welcome such an inundation of legal and medical options. One thoughtful lawyer stated, "I apologize if this letter seems to invade your privacy." As I think about that, I realize they’re not apologetic at all. After all, even though my accident is public record, one has to search for or be at the right spot to know when such records are fled. Do they have a paralegal or hired help sitting at the hall of records just waiting for accident reports? Does someone at the highway patrol send a mass email to all attorneys and chiropractors informing them of the details of an accident? And what of the basically nice lady that hit me? She was a pleasant individual and readily admitted fault. She was not rude, she was apologetic and I was grateful of that. Still, did the very same people contact her? And as for the attorneys…would they have taken the side of which ever one of us called them first? No, they’re not apologetic at all, because they count on this information for their bread and butter.

I can’t really call them vultures. I would say they are necessary in many cases, especially where serious accident and differing accounts of what happened occurred. But the fact that the police report noted there were no injuries doesn’t seem to phase these people. They all simply assume that there was an injury, despite the report. So it’s not the invasion of privacy that gets to me, but the assumption of what’s best for me. It almost makes me think of the reckless paparazzi that follows Britney Spears and other celebrities. They don’t care what happens to the person they’re following. They only care about how that person can lead to them making a buck.

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