Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. A derogatory term for a person, usually a lawyer, who seeks out the scenes of accidents (where ambulances will respond) in order to profit in some way from those involved, often by encouraging them to engage in a lawsuit. The first person I met after my accident was an ambulance chaser who wanted to represent me in court. The guys at that towing company are real ambulance chasers.
2. By extension, a derogatory term for any lawyer. I can't believe I have to hire a lawyer. I don't trust any of those ambulance chasers!
The practice of following ambulances or seeking out people injured at the scene of an accident. The phrase is typically said of lawyers because some pursue medical cases in the hopes of making money by representing the injured party. Can you believe that guy's ambulance chasing? I've been in the ER for 10 minutes and already I've got a lawyer barging in on me! Your ambulance chasing has got to stop, Carl! You're taking advantage of those poor, rattled people, and I can't stand it!
an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff
Something that is helpful only after one is already injured or in trouble. The idea is that, while an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff can help people who fall off the cliff, a fence at the top would be more beneficial. Services like this, which only help kids once they've gotten into significant trouble, are like an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a lawyer who hurries to the scene of an accident to try to get business from injured persons. The insurance companies are cracking down on ambulance chasers.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
An attorney who seeks to profit from someone's injury or accident; also, an inferior lawyer. For example, Karen refused to join any law firm that included ambulance chasers. The practice of suing for damages on behalf of the injured person in exchange for a contingency fee-usually a large percentage of the amount so won-may be older, but this derogatory term began to be used for lawyers who actively sought out individuals injured in accidents who required an ambulance. [Slang; late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
an ambulance chaser
An ambulance chaser is a lawyer who contacts people who have been injured to try to get work by giving them legal advice. They describe Mr Edwards as a shameless ambulance chaser claiming that he makes money suing people. Note: This expression is used to express disapproval.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
ambulance chaserand chaser
1. n. a lawyer or entrepreneur who hurries to the scene of an accident to try to get the business of any injured persons. The insurance companies are cracking down on ambulance chasers. A chaser got here before the ambulance, even.
2. n. a derogatory term for any lawyer. (Also a rude term of address.) That ambulance chaser is trying to charge me for reaching his office when I called a wrong number! Three-hundred dollars an hour for what? You two-bit chaser!
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.