The Slobs are alleging ‘soft tissue damage’. I’m not surprised that this is the diagnosis of the doctor appointed by the lawyer pioneering their attempt to defraud my insurance company.
The Slobs, you may remember, are the charming couple who claimed I had seriously injured them both when I rolled into the back of them at 3mph in a traffic queue on Streatham High Road, leaving not so much as a scratch on their bumper.
I can only imagine what the medical examination to assess their claim was like.
‘Please, take a seat,’ a nauseous doctor must have said as one or other or possibly both of the Slobs put their clothes on and galumphed back out from behind the curtain. ‘Now, I’m going to say you’ve got soft tissue damage.’
‘’Ere! What you on about, you poncy swine!’ would yell Mrs Slob; ‘I ain’t lost a packet of Kleenex! I’m crippled, I am!’
‘Please, Mrs Slob, try to stay calm. I believe there is every possibility that you do have some kind of damage to the soft tissues, at, shall we say, molecular level. But the chances of finding it are slim, not least because you have a particularly vast amount of soft tissue to sift through. Mrs Slob, you must behave yourself or I will call security. But then again, the chances of the opposing party proving that we cannot find it are even slimmer. So, why don’t I just put down “soft tissue damage” and you and your interestingly perfumed husband toddle off pronto and take the baby you’ve left behind in the examination cubicle with you? No, Mrs Slob, I really must insist you take the child. We cannot organise adoption at this short notice.’
And so on. The man from Aviva agrees that it is all very depressing. They’ve been through it a million times before, of course. But from what I can make out, they still haven’t honed a fail-safe routine for dealing with it.
A laid-back man — let’s call him Paul — rang to tell me that they are going to send an assessor to my house at some point, possibly next week, but maybe not, to interview me. I tried to tell him that they had better get a move on because the Slobs are in overdrive. By the time we start fighting this claim they will be in a private hospital having their spinal cords reconstructed.
I would not have thought it possible for a multinational corporation to be beaten into the ground by a couple of toothless wonders on incapacity benefit but it currently looked very much like the Slobs were whooping our ass. ‘Do you want the photo I took of the back of the car showing clearly that there is absolutely no damage on it?’
‘Er, oh yeah, alright, go on then,’ said Paul, as if I had offered him a cup of mint tea after a heavy meal.
‘Aren’t you excited? This picture could seriously defeat them, couldn’t it?’
‘Hmmmm, well, it could do,’ he drawled.
‘Did you read the statement I organised from the police community support officer saying he saw the cars minutes after the alleged crash and can testify that there was no sign of an accident?’
‘Oh, no, I don’t think we got that,’ he said, sounding as if he was stifling an enormous yawn.
‘Well, I know he sent it. To the fax number you gave me. Can you check, please?’
‘Hmmmmm, yeah, I’ll have a look.’ He was now watching a movie on his iPad.
‘Why, oh why am I still in this poxy insurance call centre dealing with whiplash claims?’ he was asking himself as the latest X-Men movie played silently in front of his half-glazed eyes. ‘When is the fighter pilot training course going to get back to me about my application? Should I have mentioned my taekwondo qualification in the personal mission statement section after all?’
‘I also sent you details of the car dealership where the vehicle I was driving was traded later that day. Did you get those?’
‘Uh? Oh, I’ll have a look. Yes. Very useful. I should have done jujutsu instead of taekwondo.’
‘You see the point, don’t you? A dealership would not have gone ahead with a trade-in if the car had been in an accident on the way there.’
‘Yup, yup.’ The movie was getting to the bit where Xavier uses a mutant-locating device called Cerebro.
‘Well, that’s fine then. I’ll just leave it with you.’
‘Yup, yup.’ One of the X-Men had just been rendered into a leonine beast.
‘So you’ll call me to let me know when the assessor is coming? Or will the assessor call me direct?’
‘Right. I’m hanging up now. I have to trigger World War III and achieve mutant ascendancy.’
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated January 7, 2012