If you are involved in a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim, you might have the feeling that you are being watched. This idea is not necessarily wrong; insurance companies can monitor your activity if you have filed a claim with them, and sometimes they do. Surveillance of injury claimants is legal as long as the insurance company does not invade your privacy or break any other laws in order to obtain information that might be relevant to the claim.
Now you might wonder, why would an insurance company want to spy on me during my injury claim?
There are a couple of general reasons why an insurer would perform surveillance. First of all, they want to prevent insurance fraud. Although most injury claims are legitimate, there are some who exaggerate or in extreme cases outright lie in order to get benefits. If the insurance company suspects fraud, they are far more likely to use surveillance as part of their investigation.
The second reason an insurance company might spy on a claimant is simply to protect their bottom line. Insurers are like any other business in that they want to maximize their profits and minimize their losses. In order to accomplish this, they will look for ways to pay out as little as possible for an injury claim.
Do Insurance Companies Always Spy on Accident Injury Claimants?
No. And in fact, in most cases, insurers do not perform surveillance on injury victims. Insurance companies do not have the resources to spy on every single claimant, so if your claim is for a relatively small dollar amount and the facts of the case are pretty straightforward, they are probably not going to be watching you.
The main instances in which an insurance company might employ a private investigator to do surveillance are:
- Suspected Fraud: Experienced insurance adjusters have dealt with numerous claimants, and there are certain red flags that they have learned over time warrant taking a closer look at the claim. So, if an insurance company suspects that a claimant is not being truthful with them, they might perform a deeper investigation.
- High-Value Claims: With claims involving severe and catastrophic injuries and the prospect of paying out large amounts of money in damages, an insurance carrier is almost certain to look more closely at the claimant’s activities whether they suspect fraud or not. This is another way of protecting their bottom line.
How Do Insurance Companies Spy on Injury Claimants?
There are a limited number of ways that an auto insurance or workers’ compensation carrier can legally spy on an injury claimant. These include:
- Having private investigators follow you around and take photos of you in public.
- Examining your medical history to ensure that everything matches up with the injuries that you are claiming.
- Calling potential witnesses (e.g., neighbors or coworkers) to find out about your activities and if your injuries are less severe than you say they are.
- Questioning your employer about your work history and any illnesses or injuries you have had while working there.
- Reviewing your social media profiles, public posts, and comments for any information that might contradict your claim.
Although it is rare, there are some limited instances when insurance investigators cross the line by getting too close to you in public (i.e., stalking) or entering your property without your authorization. If this happens, you are well within your rights to contact law enforcement and have them deal with this illegal activity.
What Can I Do About Insurance Company Surveillance?
You cannot control whether an insurance company decides to spy on you, but if you have been honest with them from the start, you probably do not have much to worry about. There are times, however, when insurers will try to take the things you say and do out of context to try to undermine your claim.
Here are some things you can do to help prevent this from happening:
- Follow all of your doctor’s orders and do not participate in any restricted activities.
- Do not go back to work earlier than you should, even if your employer is putting pressure on you to do so.
- Do not post anything in your social media accounts or comment on anyone else’s posts, and make sure you have the strictest privacy settings.
- Speak with an attorney about your claim and to discuss your legal rights and options.
Injured in an Accident in Alabama? Contact Burge & Burge for Assistance
If you have been hurt at work or in an accident outside of work that was someone else’s fault, do not sign anything from the insurance company or agree to anything without first speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer. If the injury occurred in Alabama,call Burge & Burge today at 205-251-9000 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment.