Can Insurance Companies Hire a Private Investigator to Follow Me?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Apr 07, 2021 in Car Accidents
While insurance companies use several tactics to deny injury claims, hiring a private investigator to follow an accident victim may seem like the most underhanded strategy. It may feel like an invasion of your privacy and an infringement of your rights.
Our car accident lawyers in South Bend discuss what you should know about insurance companies using private investigators and what steps you should take to help protect your injury claim.
Why Do Insurance Companies Hire Private Investigators?
Insurance companies often say they hire private investigators to help prevent fraud that would lead to an increase in premiums for their customers. While fraud does happen, critics argue insurers use surveillance to try and find any excuse to deny or devalue legitimate claims in the interest of protecting their profits.
Insurance companies often say if accident victims suffered a legitimate injury there would be nothing to hide. However, insurance companies often have flimsy excuses for denying or devaluing claims. They could find something that seems insignificant and use it against you, even though you may have a legitimate claim.
What Are the Legal Limits on This Kind of Surveillance?
Although insurance companies are within their rights to hire private investigators to follow injury victims, there are limits on what these people can do.
Private investigators cannot intimidate a person they are hired to spy on. Intimidation is defined as making another person feel fearful or frightened through their actions, such as following them aggressively or making any threats, verbal or non-verbal.
Additionally, private investigators may not trespass on private property to surveil a person. If an investigator is on privately-owned land and the landowner asks him or her to leave, the investigator must do so.
While you may be observed, videotaped or photographed by the private investigator when you are outside of your home, in your car or otherwise in a public setting, he or she may not take any photos or videos of you through the open window of a private home.
Private investigators can record conversations, however, Indiana law requires at least one person involved in the conversation to give consent to be recorded. That means private investigators are not legally allowed to wiretap your phone and eavesdrop on a private conversation.
How Can I Protect my Claim?
Private investigators are professionals who are trained to remain out of sight and dig into your background and daily activities to find something the insurance company can use against you.
You do not want to make things easier for them but making social media posts that could be used against you. If you post to social media, avoid discussing your claim, your injuries and anything else about your case. You should also avoid posts that could be used to challenge the severity of your injuries.
Make sure to listen to what your doctors tell you about your injuries and physical limitations. For example, if your doctor tells you that you should not be lifting more than 25 pounds, do not lift anything heavier than 25 pounds. If you do this outside your home, a private investigator could discover it.
Disobeying the doctor’s orders could undermine your claim. Besides undermining your claim, disobeying the doctor’s orders could make your injuries worse.
When Do Insurers Hire Private Investigators?
Every claim does not warrant the hiring of a private investigator. Generally, accident victims are not assigned private investigators until a lawsuit is filed, or the insurance company deems the claim credible enough that it would cost them more money than they are willing to pay. The insurance company may want help looking into your financial background or medical background for some reason to deny or devalue your claim.
Feeling Overwhelmed After a Crash? Call Today
There are many benefits to working with an attorney after a car crash, but perhaps one of the most significant is taking on the burdens of the legal process. Accident victims have many questions and are unsure of what steps to take to pursue compensation.
The attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan and Stesiak are working on personal injury cases every day and we have helped numerous crash victims secure financial compensation.
The initial consultation is free and there are no upfront fees for our services.
Call today to set up a free consultation: (844) 678-1800