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. The 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 their vehicle with such devices.
  2. Seat belts or other safety devices are available in the vehicle but were not used by the plaintiff.
  3. Equipment defects in the plaintiff's vehicle: bald tires, brakes not working, tail lights not working, turn signals not working.
  4. The plaintiff's driving ability and perception were impaired by the use of alcohol, medication, or drugs.
  5. The plaintiff had a hearing or vision defect and wasn't wearing glasses or a hearing aid.
  6. The plaintiff had a physical defect, i.e., epilepsy, headaches, sickness, etc., which impaired his driving ability and perception.
  7. The plaintiff is under the doctor's orders not to drive.
  8. The plaintiff is not licensed to drive or driving with a suspended license.
  9. The plaintiff didn't notice the defendant until impact or immediately before impact and, therefore, inattentive.
  10. The 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 their credibility.
  11. The plaintiff exaggerates the defendant's speed and other facts surrounding accidents to diminish their credibility, making them unreliable or unbelievable witnesses.
  12. The plaintiff had been warned of danger within a sufficient time to avoid the accident if paying attention.
  13. The plaintiff could have avoided the accident if not exceeding safe speed for conditions.
  14. The plaintiff made an unnecessary and unexpected stop.
  15. The plaintiff made an unsafe lane change without warning.
  16. The plaintiff gave no stop or turn signal.
  17. The 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. The plaintiff was not at the 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. The plaintiff makes a poor appearance as a witness.
  21. The plaintiff has verbal difficulty describing events surrounding the accident.
  22. The defendant acted as a "reasonable person" in the operation of their 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 their case.)
  25. Witnesses dispute the plaintiff's version of facts or substantiate the defendant's version.
  26. Investigating police officers makes errors in their 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. The plaintiff didn't obtain the services of an expert to substantiate the negligence of other parties.
  29. Police were 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. The plaintiff was not examined at an emergency room on the day of the accident or soon after.
  35. There was minimal property damage to either or both vehicles involved.
  36. The plaintiff's vehicle is equipped with shock-absorbing bumpers. Additionally, 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. The plaintiff received no treatment for a substantial period of time following the accident.
  39. The plaintiff made errors in recalling their medical and/or employment history to the insurance company.
  40. No medical opinion substantiating medical causation between the accident and the 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. The plaintiff had made prior complaints and received prior treatment to the same areas of their body allegedly injured in the accident, and their complaints after the accident hadn't changed.
  43. The plaintiff had a subsequent injury which has caused continual problems.
  44. The plaintiff exaggerates complaints related to the accident per their medical records.
  45. The plaintiff's complaints to the doctor were minimal.
  46. The plaintiff's complaints to the doctor were bizarre, exaggerated, and lengthy per medical records.
  47. The plaintiff's complaints to one doctor different from their complaints to other doctors.
  48. The plaintiff had a full range of motion at the physical examination.
  49. The plaintiff had no complaint of pain at physical examination.
  50. The 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." As a result, the plaintiff did not see the doctor again.
  52. The plaintiff's injuries are totally "subjective." i.e., no indication of injury from x-rays, orthopedic tests, or observation.
  53. The plaintiff received minimal treatment for a minimal time period after the accident.
  54. The plaintiff's doctor is no longer in the area or otherwise unavailable.
  55. The 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. The 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. In addition, 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. The plaintiff went to work contrary to their doctor's advice and thereby aggravated their injury and/or caused a prolonged disability and/or treatment period.
  59. The 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. The plaintiff had a poor attendance record at work before the accident.
  62. The plaintiff would have been terminated or laid off even without the accident.
  63. The plaintiff had no job at the time of the accident and can't substantiate that they were applying at various places.
  64. The plaintiff's earnings per W-2 and tax records indicate smaller earnings history than claimed.
  65. The plaintiff paid by cash for prior employment and can't document past earnings and/or has no tax returns.
  66. The plaintiff's alleged employer has no official record (i.e., W-2 Form) or other means to substantiate the plaintiff's employment.
  67. The plaintiff lets various "Statutes of Limitations" run, thereby foreclosing the possibility of recovering anything for their claim.
  68. The plaintiff was partially at fault and should recover less under the Comparative Fault laws.
  69. The plaintiff has a history of filing lawsuits to collect compensation.
  70. The plaintiff has a history of mental illness or emotional problems, making them unreliable.
  71. The plaintiff made a statement to the insurance company that they were not injured in the accident,
  72. The plaintiff failed to give proper and timely notice to governmental bodies. Thus, the plaintiff's claim is barred.

And there are hundreds more! The insurance adjuster's job is 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. So 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 8.24.21]

Image by Roland Schwerdhöfer from Pixabay 

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