Surveillance on Personal Injury Victims
Insurance companies conduct surveillance of personal injury victims. If you are injured, then it is possible that insurance company hires a private investigator to follow you. Insurance companies do not conduct surveillance on every single personal injury case. But some cases are much more likely for video surveillance.
How do Insurance Companies Conduct Surveillance on Personal Injury Victims?
Insurance companies hire private investigators. Private investigators are individuals specialized in locating and discreetly watching or recording people. Private investigators often track individuals based on their residence, and then follow them when necessary. When possible, private investigators video record individuals to gather objective evidence. But sometimes, investigators cannot discreetly record individuals so they write reports or audio record themselves to explain what they see.
Private investigators are not allowed to intrude on an individual’s privacy. However, investigators are allowed to record and watch people when they are out in public. For example, an investigator cannot peer into an individual’s home through the living room window. But, investigator can record someone who leaves her house to retrieve their mail.
Why do Insurance Companies Conduct Surveillance on Personal Injury Victims?
Insurance companies conduct surveillance on personal injury victims to gather information regarding the victims injury. In catastrophic injuries, personal injury victims often claim life altering injuries. For example, an accident may result in the injury victim walking with a limp or being unable to lift heavy objects. If an injury victim makes these claims, then an insurance company may be interested in independently investigating the claims.
Sometimes the investigations support and injury victims claims. All other times, investigators learn that an injury victim exaggerated their injuries.
When do Insurance Companies Conduct Surveillance
Insurance companies can conduct surveillance of a personal injury victim at any time. It does not matter whether an injury victim has filed a lawsuit or not. As long as insurance company believed that it is in their best interest to conduct surveillance, then they will hire an investigator to do so. However, insurance companies are more likely to conduct surveillance when they suspect that the injury victim is exaggerating their claims or the alleged damages are significant.
For example, if an injury victim claims damages of over $1 million, then it is in an insurance company’s best interest to conduct surveillance. This is because the cost of conducting surveillance is minimal in comparison to the possible damages that an injury victim could recover. Insurance companies often employ this cost benefit analysis to determine whether they should conduct surveillance. As such, personal injury victims with significant injuries should assume that they will be surveilled.
Do Insurance Companies Have to Disclose They Are Conducting Surveillance
Whether insurance company has to disclose that the surveilled and individual depends on when the surveillance occurred. In California, during the course of a lawsuit, attorneys must disclose whether surveillance occurred when asked. However, if an attorney for a personal injury victim does not request disclosure of surveillance, then they are not entitled to know. Also, if surveillance of an individual occurs after discovery in the lawsuit concludes, then the insurance company does not necessarily have to reveal their surveillance information.
Attorneys for personal injury victims should do their best to figure out whether a clients is being surveilled. Many times, surveillance videos and reports can improve a personal injury victims arguments. For example, if an injury victim claims that they walk with a limp and the video confirms it, then the video further supports the claim.