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Business English lernen - Wissen Sie, was ein "ambulance chaser" ist?

The expression ambulance chaser has been around since the 1800s. As the name implies, the ambulance chaser is always one of the first to arrive at the scene of an accident, ready to hand out a business card while the victim is being loaded onto a stretcher. While this may have been the case in earlier times, the job of the modern “personal injury lawyer” is to assist clients who have suffered as the result of the negligence or wrongful act of another.

ambulance chaser - A lawyer who obtains clients by persuading accident victims to sue for damages.


What's black and brown, and looks good on a lawyer?
A Doberman Pinscher or a Pit Bull.


The lawyer’s life is not an easy one. It can take up to eight years to obtain a degree, after which you typically work long hours as a clerk (trainee) for one to two years. Long days and nights are spent studying for the exams. You frequently deal with contemptuous, grouchy judges who dislike you, despite the fact that they were once lawyers themselves. You can never be sure if your clients are honest, making you distrust almost everyone around you. So where does our dislike for lawyers come from? Why don’t we feel sorry for them instead?

Perhaps it’s the fault of the ambulance chaser.

Lawyers have been targets of ridicule for centuries. In the graveyard scene of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one of the gravediggers shovels up a skull. Hamlet asks, “whether that might not be the skull of a lawyer?” And in Henry VI, Part 2, Shakespeare again takes a shot at the legal profession with the famous line “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

Why is it that many lawyers have broken noses?
From chasing parked ambulances.


The expression ambulance chaser has been around since the 1800s. As the name implies, the ambulance chaser is always one of the first to arrive at the scene of an accident, ready to hand out a business card while the victim is being loaded onto a stretcher. While this may have been the case in earlier times, the job of the modern “personal injury lawyer” is to assist clients who have suffered as the result of the negligence or wrongful act of another.

Two personal injury lawyers meet at a party.
“How’s business?” asks the first.

“Terrible,” replies the other. “Yesterday, I chased an ambulance for twenty miles. When I finally caught up to it, there was already another lawyer hanging on to the bumper.”


As with any profession, there are those lawyers who work on the moral fringe. In some countries, legal professionals are permitted to conduct television advertising. This can reinforce the image of the lawyer circling like a vulture over its prey. It’s this picture of greed at someone else’s expense that colours the reputation of an otherwise noble profession.

Let’s face it, the legal profession cannot accept sole blame for its ambulance chaser image. The world is full of get rich schemes. A Mr. Shawn Perkins, resident of Laurel, Indiana in the U.S., was hit by lightning in the parking lot of an amusement park in Mason, Ohio. He sued the amusement park, arguing its owners should have warned people not to be outside during a thunderstorm. You have to give Mr. Perkins credit for being bold.



© Paul Smith


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