Can My Insurer Spy on Me If I File a Personal Injury Claim?

Most people approach their insurance company as an ally, someone there to help when they suffer an injury and require compensation. The reality is that insurance companies are businesses, and they profit the most when they deny claims. In some cases, they can go to extreme lengths to do this.

Sometimes, insurance companies look to reduce liability by surveilling their clients. This might sound extreme, but the process is common with long term disability insurance companies. If an investigator documents evidence that your injury is not as serious as you claim, they could use that evidence to deny your claim.

Unfortunately, most efforts to surveil you are legal as long as you are in a public place. Your best opportunity to counteract these efforts is to carefully follow the guidance of a personal injury lawyer in Pittsburgh.

Common surveillance efforts

There are many ways your insurance company could spy on you. This process often begins with a thorough background check. Investigators could review your history to determine if you have filed injury lawsuits in the past. They can also double-check the information you provide them regarding your residence, your employment, and other personal details. They will then use these details to surveil you. 

Some insurance companies have their own investigators, while others will hire an outside team. In either case, an investigator could spend several hours per day waiting outside of your home or place of work. They could follow you, hoping to catch you functioning normally. They will take note of your clothing, including whether you are dressed for a workout or a hike.

If your injuries prevent you from heavy lifting, they will attempt to obtain photos of you lifting or moving large objects. They are looking for any evidence that implies you are not as injured as you claim.

In the era of the internet, many surveillance efforts are online. Social media is a treasure trove of information for many insurance companies. Investigators have mined social media for information, pulling photos of their target looking healthy, or engaging in physical activities.

It is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny a claim based on a picture the insurer posted of themselves.

The use of surveillance

The problem with these surveillance efforts is that a single picture cannot perfectly capture your physical condition. A single photo of you lifting a suitcase cannot reflect the 12 hours of pain that follow it.

In some cases, these investigators will take these photos out of context to suggest you are in better physical condition than you are.

Some investigators are unscrupulous. For example, an investigator could take images from social media that were taken before an injury and imply that they are recent photographs.

When is surveillance illegal?

Not every form of surveillance is allowed. Investigators must abide by state laws. While photographing or recording a person in public is legal, breaking into their home or trespassing is not. However, if you are in a place where you are visible to the public, assume you could be surveilled.

While investigators can access your public social media information, they may not access your private data. This means they may not hack into your accounts or access your e-mail without authorization.

They cannot listen in on your phone calls or record you without your knowledge inside your own home. In other words, any confidential information is off-limits.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation

While you cannot prevent your insurance company from investigating your claim or even surveilling you, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. By proceeding carefully online and in public, you can limit the amount of available information.

To learn how we can help protect your rights during the insurance claims process, schedule a free consultation right away.