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If you have been the victim of an work accident or a car crash, you know that you have undergone all the stress you will ever need for the rest of your life.

Guess what? The insurance company that should be responsible for paying for your injuries and losses is quite willing to pile on more stress by watching your every move in an attempt to deny your claim.

And they have the right to do so. But there are restrictions on their investigators, and you can take measures to protect yourself. (The very first measure is to hire a personal injury attorney.)

I often get questions like the following ones from clients who have suffered injuries.

Do insurance companies really send private investigators out to follow me and my family?

You better believe they do. Just Google “insurance private investigators accident.” You will see a slew of private investigators advertising to do this very thing. Here’s an example of one that offers “case studies” of surveillance in personal injury and workers compensation claims.

Just like the media can watch people, investigators can lurk outside your property and observe you. You know those paparazzi that follow movie stars? When you are filing a claim, you are now the insurance company’s new favorite celebrity.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers an interesting – and scary – view of how investigators operate. An investigator might covertly observe you for several days or even weeks, and take photographs to document your activities.

However, Virginia and other states have laws against stalking. If you think investigator’s actions qualify as stalking, notify the police. To see stalking laws state-by-state, click here.

A key phrase to keep in mind is “public property.” Investigators can’t trespass onto your property to find information. They can’t go through your trash – until you put it out to be collected. Now, it’s open season – because now it’s on public property.

Also, investigators cannot legally peer into your home through your windows with enhanced vision such as a telephoto lens. Such action can give them real problems later. If an investigator breaks this rule, notify your attorney.

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