Common Surveillance Tactics Used by Insurance Companies

The Bottom Line is...Insurance Companies May Investigate and Spy on You.

There are 39.5 million personal injury cases requiring medical treatment in the US every year, which is roughly 126.3 cases per 1000. [1]

Whether it is a car accident, workers’ compensation claim, or any other type of personal injury claim, insurance companies may use a variety of tactics to try and discredit or deny your claim.

If you’ve been in an accident, you may be surprised to learn that the insurance company may start surveillance on you to collect evidence against you, as an accident victim.

How do insurance companies spy on you? Let’s take a look. 

Insurance Companies Use Private Investigators to Follow and Photograph Accident Victims

Insurance companies use multiple tactics to get the results they desire in court proceedings, but the most common is to use private investigators. Private investigators are hired by insurance companies to follow you around and take surveillance photos, following the deposition and they document any activity that undermines what you claim to have been suffering from following an accident.

During the deposition, you will be thoroughly questioned about your limitations. The goal is to observe daily activities to identify any inconsistencies with your deposition testimony.

Surveillance is typically discreet, with individuals being unaware that they are being followed or recorded. Investigators employ various tactics, often utilizing two vehicles to avoid detection. One vehicle will continue straight while the other picks up the trail when the subject turns.

About half (57%) of the people in accidental injury cases received compensation ranging from $3,000 to $25,000. [2]

The Use of Surveillance in Public To Monitor You

Insurance companies will go to extreme lengths to get you to admit fault to avoid paying out your settlement. One of the tactics they use is setting up hidden cameras in public places.

These cameras may be placed anywhere, from a parking lot to a hospital, and are strategically positioned to catch you doing something that can be used as evidence in court. In many cases, the taped footage ends up being their primary argument against you in court – so you must always remain mindful of your actions even when there are no signs warning of hidden cameras.

Like Michael Jackson sang in the 80’s – “I always feel like, somebody’s watching me.” – Rockwell.

Reviewing Social Media Accounts and Looking for Anything That Could be Used to Discredit You

Oftentimes, insurance companies take a look through your social media accounts to try and find anything that could be used to devalue your claim.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s something minor – like vacation pictures showing that you’re having a good time, or a tweet from weeks ago saying that you feel ripped off by the company handling your claim – they’ll do whatever they need to try and reduce the financial payout you deserve.

Even if it sounds unfair, this is why accident victims need to know what kinds of information insurance companies can access and use against them in court.

If your social media accounts are set to private, remember that nothing posted online is entirely private. Innocently accepting a new follower could potentially lead to the use of your Instagram or Facebook posts against you, undermining the validity of your claim.

Insurance Companies Engaging with Your Network Friends, Family and Co-Workers

Insurance companies are known to reach out to individuals in your network, trying to find inconsistencies in your story. Their goal is to find any justification to deny you compensation, and they will talk with people who are knowledgeable about the accident until they uncover information that can be used against you.

This practice tends to be more common in high-value cases. Here are a few instances of active surveillance employed by insurance companies:

  • Contacting Witnesses: Insurance companies may direct specific contact witnesses to uncover any details that suggest you may bear partial or full responsibility for the accident or injuries sustained. For instance, they might inquire whether witnesses observed you using your phone, wearing a seatbelt, or appearing distracted while driving. They may also ask about your physical condition immediately after the crash.
  • Interviewing Friends, Family, and Colleagues: Insurance companies can contact your friends, family, and colleagues to conduct interviews regarding the accident and your injuries. By doing so, they aim to get additional information that could be used against your claim.

Be aware of insurance companies’ tactics in leveraging your network and be mindful when discussing the accident or your injuries with those around you.

They Often Hire Experts to Testify Against You in Courts

Facing an insurance company in court can be daunting, especially when they play hardball. One way that insurers may attempt to get the upper hand is by recruiting expert witnesses to testify on their behalf.

The goal is to potentially lower the amount of damages you get, by providing evidence that shows that the compensation demanded by you or your lawyer is more than it’s worth.

It’s important to know all of the techniques that insurance companies use so you can be prepared for legal battles — always make sure you have an experienced attorney at your side who knows how to fight these tactics and ensure you receive what’s due.

What Does the Insurance Company Want to Prove?

In order to dispute your claim, the insurance company aims to prove:

  • You are knowingly attempting insurance fraud.
  • Your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
  • The insurance company is not accountable.
  • You bear responsibility for the incident.

These tactics aim to raise doubts about the extent of your injuries, the circumstances of the accident, or any other factors that could impact the compensation you are entitled to receive. By presenting an opposing viewpoint or disputing certain aspects of your claim, the insurance company wants to lower the amount of money they must pay.

For example, a medical expert hired by the insurance company may testify that your injuries are not as severe as you claim, suggesting that you have exaggerated your symptoms or that your condition is not directly linked to the accident.

An accident reconstruction specialist may present an alternative perspective on the cause of the accident, placing partial or full blame on your actions. These expert testimonies are strategically used to challenge your credibility and potentially reduce the compensation awarded in your case.

How to Avoid Insurance Surveillance

In navigating insurance surveillance, safeguard your privacy and protect the integrity of your personal injury claim. Here’s a comprehensive approach:

Be Cautious About Posting on Social Media

Refrain from disclosing details related to your physical condition, injuries, or accident online, throughout the duration of your case:

  • Refrain from sharing photos, status updates, or messages regarding your situation.
  • Avoid engaging with involved parties or participating in public forum discussions.
  • Be selective about accepting friend requests and avoid following social media accounts associated with the responsible party.
  • Encourage friends and family to limit online discussions about your case.

Listen to Your Doctors

Follow your doctor’s instructions to achieve maximum medical improvement (MMI) and to strengthen your injury claim. This could be done by 

  • Following prescribed medication regimens.
  • Attending all scheduled appointments, therapy sessions, and follow-up visits.

Not complying with medical guidance may provide grounds for the insurance company to dispute your claim.

Keep an Eye on Suspicious Behavior

If your sixth sense says you are being watched, it is likely true. Remain alert for signs of surveillance and take serious action if you suspect you’re being monitored. If you observe:

  • Suspicious vehicle activity or online interactions
  • Instances of being followed or surveilled

Reach out to a reputable personal injury lawyer who understands the tactics employed by insurance companies to challenge legitimate claims. An attorney can help

  • Gather compelling evidence to substantiate your case
  • Assess and quantify your injury-related damages accurately
  • Manage all communication with insurance representatives and handle the necessary paperwork
  • If necessary, initiate legal action within the statutory timeframe to protect your rights

Whether your injuries stem from a car accident or another incident, our legal team is committed to safeguarding your interests and ensuring you receive just compensation for your losses.

Being aware of potential tactics employed by insurance companies is very important if you have been involved in an accident. 

Understanding in advance can help you prepare for any actions they may take. Insurance companies are legally obligated to respect your privacy during investigations, requiring proper authorization for certain techniques or entering private property. If you feel like your privacy is being invaded, consult an attorney. 

If you have been injured in an accident and need an experienced personal injury attorney contact Goldberg & Loren at 1-844-951-1980 or fill out the form for a free consultation.

Sources:

[1] FastStats. (n.d.). Injuries. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm

[2] Law, C. C. A. U. B. S. O. (2023, December 29). How Much Can I Get for My Personal Injury Case and How Long Will It Take? www.nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-much-can-i-get-for-my-personal-injury-case-and-how-long-will-it-take-new.html

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