After an accident, your injuries may prevent you from doing the things you did prior to the crash. You may not be able to work or participate in the leisure activities you used to enjoy. For this reason, you may have filed a claim with the insurance company that covers the person who caused the accident.
What you may not realize is that insurance companies often place claimants under surveillance in order to prove they are not as injured as they say. What this means is the actions you take after an accident might heavily impact your compensation if you are pretending to be more injured than you actually are.
Why Insurance Companies Place People Under Surveillance
In most cases, insurance companies hire investigators to watch a claimant because they believe the person is lying about how injured they actually are. Courts have held that this is legal because an injured party should expect a reasonable investigation into their claim.
If the surveillance catches you doing something you claim you cannot do, the insurance company may use that in court to rebut your claims. For example, if you suffered a severe arm injury and have stated you are unable to lift anything with that arm, an investigator may use video surveillance to catch you picking up a trash can in your front yard, using that to prove you are untruthful about the injury.
Types of Surveillance
There are many different ways that surveillance may take place. The investigator may:
- Check your trash at the curb
- Follow you running errands
- Photograph you performing different activities
- Take audio recordings
- Videotape your home or workplace
- Watch you do common tasks like walking your dog
There are limits, however, to what an investigator may do. They may not knock on your door and pretend to be acting in a legal capacity, and they are not permitted to place hidden cameras or recording devices inside your home without your permission. They also cannot interfere with you when you are working, out in public, or on your property.
One way you may discover that the insurance company has you under surveillance is strange visitors coming to your door. You may have someone posing as an insurance agent that asks you pointed questions about your daily activities. If you notice someone hanging around your neighborhood, whether it is someone on the street or someone in a car, it is possible that you are being watched by the insurance company.
What to Do if You Suspect Surveillance
If you suspect the insurance company is watching you, do things as you normally would. Don’t confront the investigator, but simply continue with life as normal. If you are doing things that you shouldn’t be doing but just dealing with the pain, you need to stop those activities as a video or still photograph will not show you rubbing your back or using ice packs later that day to ease the pain.
Never exaggerate your injuries just because you know someone is watching you. If you truly are injured and your physician supports your injury, there is no need to worry about insurance surveillance. However, you do need to let your attorney know that the insurance company is watching you so they can be prepared for any photos, video, or audio that may appear in court.
If you have been injured in an accident, you need to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The insurance companies will do anything to get out of having to cover your damages, including paying a private investigator to violate your privacy. An attorney can advise you about what you should do if you think you’re being followed.