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 was reflecting on the devious ways insurance companies had attempted to defeat my client's 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:

These are the defenses the insurance companies will use in order to try and stop you from receiving just compensation for your injuries. 

1.Plaintiff vehicle not equipped with headrest, seat belts, rearview mirror, or other 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 impaired by the use of alcohol, medication, or drugs.
5.Plaintiff had hearing or vision defect and wasn't wearing glasses or 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 suspended license.
9.Plaintiff didn't notice 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 so as to diminish his/her credibility which makes 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 circumstances and/or at a location where a reasonable person wouldn't have anticipated same or where it was difficult for the defendant to see the same.
18.Plaintiff not in intersection first.
19.If the plaintiff and defendant are in the intersection at the same time, the plaintiff was to the defendant's left or exceeding the speed limit or safe speed or inattentive.
20.Plaintiff makes poor appearance as a witness.
21.Plaintiff has verbal difficulty describing events surrounding the accident
22.Defendant acting as "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 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 plaintiffs version of facts or substantiate the defendant's version.
26.Investigating police officer makes errors in his/her report or erroneous conclusions disputing 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 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 scene therefore inferring minimal or no injury.
30.No complaint of pain at the scene of the accident by plaintiff to anyone.
31.No indication on the police report that 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 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 equipped with shock-absorbing bumpers. headrests, and seat belts which 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 prior to 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.Plaintiff's family doctor had an opinion of minimal injuries, did not prescribe physical therapy or any other treatment nor did they give an appointment for the plaintiff to return or tell 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 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 as such arthritis or congenital problems such as spondylosis.
57.Cost of treatment was excessive and the period during which the plaintiff was treated was excessive in light of standard charge for such services in the community and normal period of disability for such injuries.
58.Plaintiff went to work contrary to his/her doctor's advice and thereby aggravated his/er injury and/or caused a prolonged period of disability and/or treatment.
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 poor attendance record at work prior to 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 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 for the purpose of collecting 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 adjusters 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. I've been handling car accident cases and claims against insurance companies since 1982 and I 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 me a call today for free and friendly advice. I can be reached at 916.921.6400 or (800) 404-5400.

I'm a member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel and the Million Dollar Forum.

Learn more about my practice at the links below:

:ab* [02.27.18] 

Image by Roland Schwerdhöfer from Pixabay 

Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 4.9.19]

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