“More Failures to Keep a Low Profile When Falsely Claiming Disability”

Kevin Underhill at Lowering the Bar catalogues claimant indiscretions that include performing a jig while being supposedly virtually unable to walk, and appearing regularly on a home-improvement cable TV show while collecting $147,000 in disability payments.


  • Kevin missed the best false claim I know of. In March of 2008 a Boston firefighter, Albert Arroyo, filed a disability claim, stating that he had tripped on a staircase in a Boston firehouse and as a result had severely injured his back. His doctor stated that he was unable to perform his duties as a fire inspector.

    Not too long thereafer a video emerged showing that in May of 2008 Arroyo had participated in a national bodybuilding tournament. The link is to the Boston Globe.


  • I saw plenty of this in my years of defending personal injury claims or worker’s compensation claims. What’s even worse aren’t the truly outrageous outliers like tap dance contest winners collecting worker’s comp, it’s the huge numbers of perfectly mundane cases where someone is clearly able to work but collecting benefits on the thin reed of a doctor’s declaration of disability.

    Bad back claims are a biggie — there’s no visible injury and nothing to be tested, just a claimant’s subjective claim that “my back hurts”, backed up by a doctor saying “he says his back hurts, therefore, his back hurts.”

    Often you’ll get doctors to come in and say that a car accident victim has a “bulging disc”, but the truth is that many people have these anyway. Even if you strike gold as a defense attorney and find pre-accident medical images showing that the “bulging disc” was already there, well, no problem… doc just says, the accident EXACERBATED the problem. Ah, right. The case is now worth $75,000 instead of $90,000… great.

    I scream into the wind that the whole “bulging disc” lawsuit fraud is the most undiscussed, uncovered and EXPENSIVE scam going. But like so many great scams, everyone gets a piece: the doctors, the insurance companies, the lawyers, the courts, the experts, the court reporters, and certainly, the plaintiffs. The only losers — probably to the tune of billions — are “consumers in general.”