I was stopped in the left turn lane looking South on Van Buren. When I saw something white and large way to my left. It was an old-prophetically named- Dodge Ram flying out of the Exxon station. I guess he was trying to get across my lane and into the right hand lane. All I knew was that I was as good as hit. I raised my arms as if I were doing a chin-up to protect my face from the glass and the airbags.
I was lucky. He hit the front wheel well. No glass. No air bags. I just sat there for a minute while I made sure that I wasn't injured. Then I got mad.
"What were you thinking?" I yelled as I slammed the car door.
"I didn't see you. I'm sorry," he said. An older gentleman. Wearing the clothes of a working man.
"Didn't see me?" I said, wearing the clothes of a highly agitated lawyer. "How is that possible? I wasn't 2 feet away!"
"I'm sorry,Sir," he said. "It wasn't intentional."
"I would never do something like that on purpose."
What an odd thing to say. Maybe he felt that he was liable only for intentional torts. Maybe he was shook up and that was what came out under the stress of the moment. Anyway, it appeared to me that he was sincerely remorseful. I lightened up. Dealing with the insurance company and getting a rental was going to be a pain in the ass, as per usual. But at least nobody was hurt.
The police came and worked the accident. Information was exchanged. I'm pretty sure the man in the Dodge got a ticket. One of the officers was carrying his ticket book and he didn't give one to me. I'm guessing reckless driving or something for no other reason than trying to hang a left on Van Buren from the Exxon station during the shift change at the hospitals was nothing if not "reckless." Indeed, if you could get a ticket for "driving like a goddamned fool" the man in the Dodge would have been a prime candidate for one.
We exchanged our information.
"I'm sorry," he said. "It wasn't intentional."
I shook his hand.
"I believe you."
He walked off.
One of the cops was standing nearby. We watched the man cross Van Buren.
"He said what?"
" I know. Weird, huh?"
"Have a good day, Sir," the officer said as he walked back to his cruiser. He was shaking his head in that world-weary way of law enforcement officers everywhere. Just when you think you've heard it all, boy.
I guess I have lived a charmed life. But while I have heard of this sort of low commerce I have never actually been a party to it. I didn't return the call. After all, I have access to excellent health care and I wasn't in any pain seeing as how I had, as I far I could tell, sustained no injuries.
By Wednesday I had received letters from 7 attorneys, most of them came loaded with refrigerator magnets, which I very much appreciated as I can always use magnets. After today's mail I am up to 9 lawyers and 2 more chiropractors. And one letter from State Farm advising me that they haven't been able to reach me to discuss my claim. This is not true.
Now it was obvious to me that the actual lawyers behind these solicitations employ someone else to crank them out. I know a couple of these guys or know lawyers in some of these firms. They would not address me as "Arthur" if they wrote to me.
Indeed, if they had actual knowledge that I had been in a wreck they would have called me to see how I was doing. Maybe end the conversation with "Let me know if I can help you." Leave it at that.
I don't need a lawyer to navigate this process because a) I am one and b) I'm uninjured and all I need is my vehicle repaired and a rental car until I get mine back. I have every confidence in the world that State Farm will be diligent in getting after the hapless gentleman that struck me the other day which means c) I don't have dollar signs in my eyes. I just want to get my car back so I can turn this crappy Jeep Compass in.
Don't get me wrong. If I had been injured, I would have lawyered up. But I know who I would retain.
But having said that I have to ask the question: Hey McMath-Woods! Hellooooooo Wilson, Engstrom, Corum and Coulter! Where are my refrigerator magnets?
Don't you guys want my business? I mean, if I was really hurt and had a real case and all?