According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated two million people were injured in car accidents in 2014. After someone has an accident, insurance companies provide financial support for damages and injuries. However, for many of these companies, the first priority is to not pay on a claim or pay as little as possible. To accomplish this, insurance companies may use surveillance tactics to find evidence that can undervalue legitimate claims.
Insurance Companies Can Legally Surveil You
As long as insurance companies do not enter your home or business, they are allowed to conduct surveillance on you. Often, an adjuster or insurance investigator will begin surveillance after the injury victim has been deposed and explains the limitations of the injury. When the investigator knows what to look for, he will conduct surveillance by:
Recording a video.
An investigator, contracted by the insurance company, will often follow an injury victim while he is engaged in daily activities such as going to the coffee shop, grocery store, gym, park, a restaurant, church, and work. If he can catch the injured claimant acting uninjured or engaging in an activity that would not be possible if the injury were legitimate, the adjuster can use the film to discredit the injury claim.
Sometimes, an insurance representative will visit a claimant’s place of work or neighborhood to interview coworkers and neighbors. The representative will ask questions about the victim’s activity while working or at home, attempting to find a witness who’s seen or heard the injured person do or say something inconsistent with his deposition testimony.
Keeping track of social media.
Anything an investigator finds on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn could be used against a claimant’s injury case. Photos of a person looking happy, posts checking into a fun place like a golf course, or even videos at family events could be submitted as evidence that an injury is not as severe as the claimant alleged. Even posts or tags from a claimant’s friend could look bad to an insurance company.
What Can You Do About Being Surveilled?
When you suspect an insurance company might be conducting surveillance on you, you can’t stop it. However, the following are a few tips for managing yourself while being watched:
- Don’t engage with the investigator
- Detail descriptions of persons and vehicles following you, and inform your attorney
- Act normal; don’t try to exaggerate your injuries
- Limit or entirely disengage from social media
- Ask friends and family not to engage with you or about you on social media
- Decline requests for interviews, and ask coworkers and neighbors to do the same
Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?
If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help accident victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.