Since people who record logs on the web are “bloggers”, I’m thinking that those who chase ambulances on the web might be “bamulance chasers”. Of course, prior to Wednesday I didn’t even know they existed. Two days earlier I was in an accident. In stop-and-go traffic on I-71, I realized that the car in my rear view mirror was not going to make this particular stop in time. Bump to the back of me, crunch to the front, there I was. Stuck in the middle. The next car in line stopped in time but not the one after that. Five cars at the side of the expressway with varying degrees of damage but no injuries. The officer arrived. He collected a bunch of information from everyone, cited the guy that hit me, and sent us on our way.
That was Monday. On Tuesday morning I spoke with the fellow’s insurance agent and made a Wednesday appointment for an estimate. The appointment was for 9:00 AM. At 8:07 my cell phone rang. It was a clue that I’d made a big mistake on Monday but I didn’t immediately figure that out.
The call was from the Collision Follow Up Agency or something along those lines. I answered a few questions, the call ended pleasantly, and I headed off to my appointment. Things went quite smoothly in getting the estimate started and getting a loaner car but I got another call while there. This time it was from the Follow Up Collision Agency or something along those lines and things finally clicked. I quickly informed the caller that there were no injuries in the accident and, as I now sort of expected, the interest diminished greatly. Thinking back, I could see that the same “no injuries” equals “no interest” exchange had occurred in the earlier call which I’d actually thought was from a legitimate government agency.
The back story also quickly became clear. I almost never answer my home phone unless I recognize the caller ID. Conversely, I almost always answer my cell phone because the only people with that number are people I’m actually given it to. At least that had been the case. Without thinking it through, I’d given the investigating police officer my cell phone number. It went on the police report which went on the internet Tuesday afternoon. I would get four more calls on Wednesday and two on Thursday for a total of eight. All were polite and none even hinted at a hard sell. One caller was more or less saying goodbye after a single word from me. He announced that he was from the Up Collision Follow Agency or something along those lines and I answered “OK”. There was a chuckle in my voice and he caught it.
“I guess I’m not the first”, he said.
“Nope. You’re fifth.”
For the sake of completeness, I volunteered that there were no injuries but I’m sure that wasn’t necessary. It was a short call.
Physical mail took a little longer. On Thursday, three pieces of accident related mail appeared. Two were duplicates except for my middle name being on one and not the other. Friday brought another matching pair. The black envelope was in the red bag which was hung on my door sometime Thursday.
The phone calls seem to have stopped with the two on Thursday. I left home before the mail arrived on Saturday so I don’t know if more solicitations are waiting in my mailbox. My impression is that the flurry is over. There are new police reports posted and other potential clients to call. Ambulance chasing may look a little different than it once did but it’s far from dead.