Insurance companies often use a variety of tactics and tricks to deny or devalue injury claims. They might even go so far as hiring a private investigator to follow you around in hopes of catching you doing something that could help give them an excuse to deny your claim. While this may sound like a violation of your privacy rights, it is not illegal if the investigator follows the law.
However, there are certain steps you may be able to take to help protect the value of your claim. One of which is working with our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers in Fort Worth. We offer a free consultation and charge you nothing up front.
Below, we discuss how private investigators are used to spying on injury victims and how you may be able to protect your claim.
What is a Private Investigator’s Job?
Private investigators are adept at keeping a close eye on someone while going undetected. They are also good at digging into people’s personal information and background. These skills are why insurance companies hire them to investigate and follow injury victims.
As part of their job, a private investigator knows how to access information about you that is publicly available, so they can provide it to the insurance company. Some information that is publicly available may include the following:
- Financial background
- Family background
- Immigration status
- Criminal record
- Driving record
- Social media posts
While you may not have anything to hide about your personal background, or you lack a criminal record, and therefore are not concerned, it is important to know that insurance companies look for any little thing that could negatively impact your claim.
For example, a social media post about a successful exercise class or a speeding ticket on your driving record may give the insurance company some ammunition to use against you. While you cannot hide an old ticket, you should be wary about what you post to social media.
A private investigator may also follow you to a variety of places, including:
- Post office
- Family/friends’ homes
- And more
Can Insurers Legally Hire Someone to Follow Me?
Yes, insurance companies do have the legal right to hire someone to follow injury victims who file claims, especially if the insurance company suspects fraud. However, there are limits on the information private investigators may collect and steps they are allowed to take to do their jobs.
For one, your privacy rights must be respected. This means that you cannot be photographed or recorded if you are in a private setting or have reason to believe that you are in a private setting. For example, you cannot be recorded inside your own home, even if the curtains on a window that leads to your backyard are open. You can, however, be recorded if you are outside of your home in your front yard.
Private investigators are prohibited from trespassing onto private property. Therefore, they cannot break into your home or be on your neighbor’s property without permission. Unlike police officers, private investigators cannot obtain a warrant to search through your property.
Lastly, as per Texas state law, wire, oral or electronic communications cannot be recorded unless one party consents. This means that a private investigator may not tap your phone and listen in on private conversations. However, Texas law does allow the recording of conversations between individuals in a public place where your conversation may be overheard.
How Can I Protect the Value of My Claim?
If you have filed a claim with the insurance company due to the negligence of another, and you think the insurance company has hired a private investigator to follow you, there are some steps you may be able to take to help protect the value of your claim.
First, you need to speak to one of our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. Once you do, we can discuss your legal options and work with you through the process of pursuing compensation.
Next, you should avoid discussing your case with anyone in public or posting about it on social media. You do not want to give the insurance company some reason to claim you are being inconsistent with your statements to them, as this could hurt your credibility in court.
Most importantly, follow your doctor’s advice. If you are told to avoid certain activities, do so. If a private investigator catches you playing contact sports when there is a clear record of your doctor telling you to avoid it, you could be jeopardizing your chances at recovering compensation.
Injured in an Accident? Call Us Today
If you were hurt in an accident and the insurance company is giving you a hard time covering the cost of your damages, or you think a private investigator is following you around, you should call our attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.
Our attorneys have decades of experience helping injury victims recover maximum compensation.
Call (817) 920-9000 to get started.