We hear the craziest defenses to our injury lawsuits. One recurring defense is that a vehicle is stolen and therefore there is no insurance coverage. Almost universally, there is no police report showing that the vehicle was stolen but it is an attempt to avoid liability. We fight these defenses.
Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill in the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.
Justin Hill: A few fiestas ago, a young couple were driving through an intersection when they were hit broadside by a lady that ran a red light, was speeding and was high on methamphetamines. The crash was so severe that the husband didn’t survive the crash. We represented the wife and their children.
In cases like this, there’s lots of investigation that has to be performed to make sure that anybody who caused or contributed to the cause of the crash is held responsible. Through our investigation, we were able to find out whose car this driver was driving, where she had been, what she had been doing, where she got her drugs from. We needed all that information to make sure that we had fully and completely investigated the possible cases and any possible liability against any third parties.
We’re going to talk about frivolous defenses on this podcast. This is one of those cases where I ran into the frivolous defense of a stolen vehicle. Insurance companies can deny coverage if they can show that a vehicle was stolen or is being used without permission. Certain insurance companies are almost infamous for doing this. They’ll say that vehicles are stolen anytime. They don’t like the facts of the case or anytime they think they can muddy the water.
In this case, they tried to say the vehicle was stolen. What our investigation found was that this was the ex-wife of the owner of the vehicle. What we were able to find out that she had been at his house with him and that she had made a mention of using the vehicle. Now, he said he told her she couldn’t and she took the keys. Now, we were able to search to see if any criminal charges had been brought or any police report had been filed.
What it looked like to us based on the documents we found was after the crash happened and they found out about the crash, then they decided they were going to file a police report. Whether they were instructed to by their insurance company or not, we don’t know. What we do know is they denied our clients any level of justice for a long time, trying to ride out this frivolous defense. In the end, they were able to delay a settlement in this case using this made up theory.
We were able to figure out that this defense was frivolous. It was being manufactured as a way to deny coverage. As we continue to push the case, something happened on their end. Most likely they were looking at a trial date, and they finally agreed to settle the case for the full policy limits.
This is a great example of the frivolous defense of a stolen vehicle that insurance companies like to use. Almost never is there a police report to corroborate the idea that a vehicle was stolen. However, that doesn’t stop insurance companies from using this frivolous defense to try to deny justice or delay justice.