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Why I still hate lawyers, despite my accident

I've always hated lawyers.

Not personally - a few smooth-talking, pocket-emptying hucksters aside (you know who you are) - but as an entity, an institution, as in: the legal establishment. 

I don't automatically dislike the law per se, not altogether - but the way it's interpreted, manipulated and, let's face it,  ultimately plundered by the people who own it. Or, at any rate, act as if they do.

Nobody ever consults a lawyer when everything in their life is peachy.  You do it because you have to - be it crime, property, divorce, financial issues or whatever - you only do it because there's no alternative and, as they don't hesitate to remind you, not engaging one could only ever make things worse. 

One caveat.  There is something to be said for offloading on a third party with no personal involvement.  Being upfront about all your various trials and/or tribulations. 

Like talking to a counsellor but one who's unfeasibly reassuring and silver-tongued, who promises to be with you every step of the way, just as long as you settle your bill within a pre-agreed time scale. 

Well maybe not quite all the way.  He won't be sharing your prison cell or homeless shelter - but due to his impeccable desk side manner and silky facade (and even at the time you're aware it's a front and that a lot of his soothing verbiage is, uh, garbiage) you nevertheless feel obliged to sign up. 

Bitterness?  Borne out of unpleasant experience?

No, I just hate lawyers.  There's nothing bitter or acrimonious about it.  I like hating them.

One of the ways I've always felt I could get back at lawyers - maybe the only way to get under their skin, really, really  irritate them - is to have nothing whatsoever to do with them.

This is not as easy as it sounds of course, since it requires a number of personal sacrifices and a bit of luck. 

Don't buy a house, don't be declared bankrupt, don't get married (well divorced, which for me is almost inevitable), don't commit a crime.

You see?  A number of sacrifices and a bit of luck. 

But as Dr Richard Kimble aka The Fugitive almost certainly acknowledged - eventually - they're going to get you.

And it's when your guard is down that they do it. 

They're so good at it, you have to give them some credit.  (Credit incidentally that they'll almost certainly not give you by the way, so don't bother asking.)

There I was, last week, at work, minding my own business - well, minding someone else's business, which is what you do at work after all - when I opened a door and fell through the floor.

Now I realise it sounds quite promising as the middle two lines of a pawky limerick, but coming entirely without warning and with a three-and-a-half-foot drop, you might not be surprised to hear that it's not quite as hilarious as it sounds. Or as lovers of Funniest Home Videos will no doubt testify, quite probably looked.

I won't bore you with all of the details, but basically my fall from grace was entirely as a result of a manhole cover being removed without warning or proper signage - a clear case of professional incompetence on behalf of the workmen who did it - and an equally certain personal liability claim.

My injuries - and again I won't dwell on the point too much - consist of various soft tissue wounds, a small broken bone and excessive bruising, rendering me incapable of walking unaided at the moment although my prognosis is reasonably positive with - it seems - no long-term damage done.

This fact however has not discouraged the professional ambulance-chasers - the sort of highly reputable firms who concentrate their advertising on daytime TV with a view to encouraging - no, scrap that, inciting - hapless folks who fell over a pebble to sue the rear end off whoever they can contrive to hold responsible.

I've no idea how they heard about it, but I've had a number of unsolicited phone calls from various legal firms advising me as to my rights and promising to net me a pretty penny by way of compensation, no win, no fee. 

Just as long as I realise of course that at least 60% of any eventual settlement will be winging its way to their expert coffers.  Because, after all, that's how it works.

Now, I'm as fond of a wee windfall as any hapless daytime TV watcher, so I can't say that somewhere deep inside I'm not kind of tempted. 

A few grand.  A wee lift.  Be nice.

But no. For a number of reasons. 

Firstly, like I said before, by using naked greed as a trap, they'd have won me over.  I'd be in the gang. 

Secondly, can you imagine the hassle?  Weeks and weeks of non-progress.  Phone calls, emails and letters being batted to and fro - compromises, counter offers, points of law, arguments, lots and lots of bad vibes.

Then there's the honest fact that - although I am injured and significantly inconvenienced, I'm not actually permanently incapacitated. I'm hoping - expecting - that all will be well in a few weeks. 

I'm going to recover.  And, I hope, without sounding too self-righteous, on my terms.

The people who know me (and I hope love me) recognise this. A firm of opportunist lawyers have no such confidence in my ability to bounce back, all I am to them, is a lump sum - a profit, revenue, another day, another fall guy, another victim, another dollar.

Nah, I'm not a victim.

I'd rather be skint and limp for a week or so.

Maybe I'm being an idiot. 

But, at least I'm my own idiot.

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