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May 8, 2008
How a small knock can become a major accident
IN 2004, the car that my wife was in was gently bumped from behind (she was waiting at the entrance of the carpark). As it was a small knock, both parties agreed to settle via our individual insurance policies. Two interesting things happened.
1. The other party painted a totally different scenario – different location, different circumstances, etc. In this scenario, my wife, on a main road, recklessly swerved into the other car’s path and, hence, was hit from behind.
2. The more interesting part was a call I received from my workshop’s lawyer. He asked me whether my wife was all right. I said that it was a slow-speed/low-impact bump, but he said: ‘You know, even small knocks from behind can cause ‘whiplash’. Moreover, since my wife was a tutor, she could claim ‘loss of income due to pain afflicted while being sedentary’.
I insisted that she was fine, but the lawyer then proceeded to advise me to visit his ‘recommended orthopaedic specialist’ who has been ‘very effective’ in confirming such ‘latent whiplash’ injuries for his law firm. He even told me the doctor would waive his consultation fees. I was informed that the damages could come to tens of thousands of dollars.
We did not take him up on the offer, but imagine how such actions could inflate the costs of insurance.