CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

72 Ways Insurance Companies Cheat and Lie


Some time ago, I sat down on a Saturday morning and reflected on the devious ways insurance companies had attempted to defeat my clients' cases.

As a result of that morning musing, I wrote the following article entitled, "72 Ways Insurance Companies Lie, Cheat and Steal from People Injured in Car Crashes."

Below are the defenses the insurance companies will use to try and stop you from receiving fair compensation for your injuries:

  1. Plaintiff's vehicle is not equipped with a headrest, seat belts, rearview mirror, or another safety device, and it is the plaintiff's responsibility to provide his/her vehicle with such devices.
  2. Seat belts or other safety devices available in the vehicle but not used by the plaintiff.
  3. Equipment defects in plaintiff's vehicle: Tires bald, brakes not working, tail lights not working, turn signals not working.
  4. Plaintiff's driving ability and perception were impaired by the use of alcohol, medication, or drugs.
  5. Plaintiff had a hearing or vision defect and wasn't wearing glasses or a hearing aid.
  6. Plaintiff had a physical defect, i.e., epilepsy, headaches, sickness, etc., which impaired his driving ability and perception.
  7. Plaintiff under doctor's orders not to drive.
  8. Plaintiff not licensed to drive or driving with a suspended license.
  9. Plaintiff didn't notice the defendant until impact or immediately before impact and therefore inattentive.
  10. Plaintiff's recollection of times, speeds, and distances are so inaccurate as to indicate inattentiveness or incompetence in driving and at the very least diminishes his/her credibility.
  11. Plaintiff exaggerates the defendant's speed and other facts surrounding accidents to diminish his/her credibility, making him/her an unreliable or unbelievable witness.
  12. Plaintiff had been warned of danger within a sufficient time to avoid the accident if paying attention.
  13. Plaintiff could have avoided the accident if not exceeding safe speed for conditions.
  14. Plaintiff made an unnecessary and unexpected stop.
  15. Plaintiff made an unsafe lane change without warning.
  16. Plaintiff gave no stop or turn signal.
  17. Plaintiff backing up under the circumstances and/or at a location where a reasonable person wouldn't have anticipated the same or where it was difficult for the defendant to see the same.
  18. Plaintiff not an intersection first.
  19. If the plaintiff and defendant are in the intersection simultaneously, the plaintiff was to the defendant's left or exceeding the speed limit or safe speed or inattentive.
  20. Plaintiff makes a poor appearance as a witness.
  21. Plaintiff has verbal difficulty describing events surrounding the accident
  22. Defendant acting as a "reasonable person" in the operation of his/her vehicle, including safe speed for conditions and therefore not negligent, i.e., defendant's conduct not probable cause of the accident.
  23. An act of God or unknown reason was responsible for the accident.
  24. No independent witnesses found substantiating the plaintiff's version of the accident, or witness cannot be found (plaintiff, not defendant has legal duty to prove by a "preponderance of the evidence" each element of his/her case.)
  25. Witnesses dispute the plaintiff's version of facts or substantiate the defendant's version.
  26. Investigating police officers makes errors in his/her report or erroneous conclusions disputing the plaintiff's version of the accident.
  27. Physical evidence (lights, brakes, tires, etc.) was lost as it was necessary to have it examined by an expert to substantiate the plaintiff's version of the facts.
  28. Plaintiff didn't obtain the services of an expert to substantiate the negligence of other parties.
  29. Police not summoned to the scene, therefore, inferring minimal or no injury.
  30. No complaint of pain at the scene of the accident by the plaintiff to anyone.
  31. No indication on the police report that the plaintiff complains of pain at the scene.
  32. No objective signs of injury at the scene of the accident like cuts, bruises, etc.
  33. No request by the plaintiff at the scene for an ambulance.
  34. Plaintiff not examined at an emergency room on the day of the accident or soon after.
  35. Minimal property damage to either or both vehicles involved.
  36. Plaintiff's vehicle is equipped with shock-absorbing bumpers. Headrests and seat belts were being used and which made impact injuries impossible or improbable.
  37. No other persons involved in the accident had injuries.
  38. Plaintiff received no treatment for a substantial period of time following the accident.
  39. Plaintiff made errors in recalling his/her medical and/or employment history to the insurance company.
  40. No medical opinion substantiating medical causation between accident and plaintiff's medical complaints.
  41. Shortly after the accident, the plaintiff's physical/health condition returned to what it was immediately before the accident.
  42. Plaintiff had made prior complaints and received prior treatment to the same areas of his/her body allegedly injured in the accident, and his/her complaints after the accident hadn't changed.
  43. Plaintiff had a subsequent injury which has caused continual problems.
  44. Plaintiff exaggerates complaints related to the accident per his/her medical records.
  45. Plaintiff's complaints to the doctor were minimal.
  46. Plaintiff's complaints to the doctor were bizarre, exaggerated, and lengthy per medical records.
  47. Plaintiff's complaints to one doctor different from his/her complaints to other doctors.
  48. Plaintiff had a full range of motion at physical examination.
  49. Plaintiff had no complaint of pain at physical examination.
  50. Plaintiff observed moving normally while not being examined by a doctor.
  51. The plaintiff's family doctor had an opinion of minimal injuries, did not prescribe physical therapy or any other treatment, nor did they give the plaintiff an appointment to return or tell the plaintiff to "return in a month if plaintiff experiences pain." Plaintiff did not see the doctor again.
  52. Plaintiff's injuries are totally "subjective." i.e., no indication of injury from x-rays, orthopedic tests, or observation.
  53. Plaintiff received minimal treatment for a minimal time period after the accident.
  54. Plaintiff's doctor no longer in the area or otherwise unavailable.
  55. Plaintiff was examined by a doctor recommended by the insurance company soon after the accident and was found uninjured and not in need of treatment.
  56. Plaintiff had chronic-type complaints per past medical records or has unrelated medical problems such as arthritis or congenital problems such as spondylosis.
  57. The cost of treatment was high. The period during which the plaintiff was treated was excessive in light of the standard charge for such services in the community and the normal period of disability for such injuries.
  58. Plaintiff went to work contrary to his/her doctor's advice and thereby aggravated his/her injury and/or caused a prolonged disability and/or treatment period.
  59. Plaintiff's doctor did not recommend time off of work, yet the plaintiff took time off work.
  60. No doctor has stated that the plaintiff would lose work time in the future.
  61. Plaintiff had a poor attendance record at work before the accident.
  62. Plaintiff would have been terminated or laid off even without the accident.
  63. Plaintiff had no job at the time of the accident and can't substantiate that he/she was applying at various places.
  64. Plaintiff's earnings per W-2 and tax records indicate smaller earnings history than claimed.
  65. Plaintiff paid by cash for prior employment and can't document past earnings and/or has no tax returns.
  66. Plaintiff's alleged employer has no official record (i.e., W-2 Form) or other means to substantiate the plaintiff's employment.
  67. Plaintiff lets various "Statutes of Limitations" run, thereby foreclosing the possibility of recovering anything for his/her claim.
  68. Plaintiff was partially at fault and should recover less under the Comparative Fault laws.
  69. Plaintiff has a history of filing lawsuits to collect compensation.
  70. Plaintiff has a history of mental illness or emotional problems, making him/her unreliable.
  71. Plaintiff made a statement to the insurance company that he/she was not injured in the accident,
  72. Plaintiff failed to give proper and timely notice to governmental bodies. Thus plaintiff s claim is barred.

And there are hundreds more! It is the insurance adjuster's job and duty to seek out and find as many defenses and arguments as possible in your case.

Get an Attorney Who Knows How to Win!

I'm Ed Smith, a personal injury attorney working in the Northern California region. We've been handling car accident cases and claims against insurance companies since 1982, and we have come to learn just what it takes to help you win your claim. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, give our injury lawyers a call today for free and friendly advice. We can be reached at 916.921.6400 or (800) 404-5400.

We're a member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel and the Million Dollar Forum.

See our case history of verdicts and settlements and our client reviews on GoogleYelp, and Avvo.

Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 4.15.21]

Image by Roland Schwerdhöfer from Pixabay 

Client Reviews
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.