In yesterday’s post, we discussed the legality of insurance companies spying on you after your were injured in an accident. Today we will look at what they do and what you can do to protect yourself.
Do they really look up my records?
They certainly do. Investigators usually do a database search for background information on claimants and witnesses, and can access personal information including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and past claims histories. While some consider this an invasion of the injured person’s privacy, the insurance industry looks at it as "standard operating procedure."
Do they really talk to neighbors and other witnesses?
Anybody can talk to anybody. A personal injury investigator can go to your neighbor and ask: Has your friend next door being mowing the grass? Playing with the kids? Playing with the dog? Jogging? Working in the garden? Carrying in the groceries? Lifting heavy objects?
They might also ask: Has your friend mentioned that he has an injury claim? What has he said about it?
Co-workers, friends, and even very casual acquaintances can be targets for this questioning.
What steps can I and my family take?
- Retain a personal injury attorney, if you have not already done so. Your lawyer can advise you as to whether your rights have been violated by an investigator. He or she can tell you what to do if an investigator has committed an offense that should be reported to police.
- Don’t talk about your claim, and make sure your family and friends know not to do so. What you say can be used against you.
- Don’t do things that your doctor has told you are not able to do. Even though it could be painful or irritate your injury, it is tempting to try to do tasks that you see need doing, like household chores or running errands. An investigator might see you and possibly photograph you.
The spies are out there. Just remember two basic strategies: 1. Don’t let your guard down, and 2. Seek legal counsel.