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Woody: Big crash equals big cash

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By LARRY WOODY

How come nothing lucky ever happens to me, like getting rear-ended by an 18-wheeler while driving home late one night on I-24?

Perhaps, with luck, I could suffer multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries. Then I'd get to cavort around a swimming pool with a bevy of babes, thanks to a "generous settlement" negotiated by my trial lawyer.

Judging from the personal-injury commercials that are flooding TV, getting hit by an 18-wheeler is like hitting the lottery. Except for the morphine.

A couple of things come to mind every time I watch one of those ridiculous, raucous ambulance-chasing commercials:

If the plaintiff is injured so terribly that he or she deserves a $500,000 settlement, how are they are able to throw a wild party and dance the Funky Chicken? Shouldn't they be lying in bed encased in a plaster cast, wrapped like a mummy with tubes dangling out of them?

Trial lawyers can not only make the lame walk, they can make them boogey.

Also: how come only attractive, hip young people get injured and cash in on big personal-injury settlements? Don't old, ugly fat people ever get rear-ended by 18-wheelers while driving home late one night on I-24?

How come THEY aren't in any of the trial-lawyer commercials, partying the night away in celebration of their crushed pelvis and ruptured spleen?

I've heard trial lawyers compared to intestinal tape worms. That's unfair to tape worms. Unlike trial lawyers, intestinal tape worms won't sue you for everything you own.

I speak from experience. When my daughter Susan was a teenager she often mistook Granny White Pike for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When Fireball -- I mean Susan -- would screech into the driveway, the first thing we'd do would be rush outside to inspect the damage.

One of her accidents involved an aspiring country music song-writer. He had the audacity to stop at a red light, just begging to be rear-ended. Which Susan, of course, did.

He hired a trial lawyer and sued us for $550,000. That will open your sinuses.

There was no question that Susan was at fault. She rear-ended the guy, and if you looked closely you could see a slight ding on her victim's rear bumper.

He claimed to be undergoing tremendous "pain and suffering." I suggested he use the experience as inspiration to write a new a country song, "My Achy-Breaky Back."

Instead, his lawyer thought $500,000 might cheer him up.

His wife said to toss on another $50,000 for her "loss of consortium." They must have been doing an awfully lot of consorting.

Our insurance company eventually settled out of court and it didn't cost us anything -- well, except for a year of worry and anxiety that we might lose our home, our savings, our car, our dog and everything else we owned over a fender-bender.

Ambulance chasers claim they are simply sticking it to The Man -- the big trucking companies and insurance firms. Baloney. The Man didn't get to be The Man by dishing out big liable payments.

The Man passes the settlement costs along to his customers and clients. You and me. We're who ultimately gets stuck with the party tab.

One thing the TV commercials fail to mention, as the giddy, miraculously-recovered plaintiff does cartwheels, is how much of that $500,000 windfall did the trial lawyers scoop off the top?

They never tell us that. But I guarantee you that somewhere, the trial lawyers are pitching a wild party of their own.

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