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Accidentally, on Purpose: Making of a Personal Injury Underworld in America

ISBN13: 9780333674574
ISBN: 033367457X
Published: July 1998
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £58.00 - Unavailable at Publisher

This work documents the making of the most peculiar criminal underworld. Not centred on the traditional activities of organized crime - drug dealing, gambling, prostitution, loan-sharking, protection, or bookmaking - this improbable underworld has been built from the raw material of faked personal injuries. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, the text takes readers back to the late 19th century, when the earliest slip-and-fall artists like ""Banana"" Anna first feigned injuries for money by slipping on banana-skins on steam trains throughout the Midwest. Readers then encounter the ""ambulance chasers"" and ""shysters"" of old New York who pioneered the personal injury trade; the accident racketeers of the 1920s; the excesses of self-mutilation for profit during the Depression; and the ""whiplash"" industry of the 1960s and 1970s.;Through original interviews and research, the book also reports on contemporary gangs whose members travel the streets of cities around the country staging car accidents for insurance money and the doctors and lawyers who call the shots from behind the scenes. In this engaging chronicle, the author tells an original story about a culture in which greed, desperation, and free-market incentives in the legal system could transform accidents and injuries from random instances of bad luck into the solid foundations of a vast secret economy.

Other Jurisdictions , USA
Prologue: An Unsentimental Education - Introduction: Prelude to a Fall - The Rise (and Frequent Falls) of the American Accident Faker - Accident Racketeers on the Streets of the City - The 'Nationwide War on Ambulance Chasers' - Inside the 'House of Pain' - Whiplash Culture - The 'Friends of the Friendless' - Notes from the World of the TV Attorney - Mapping America's Personal Injury Underworld - Epilogue: Who Killed Jose Luis Lopez-Perez - Notes - Index