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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

How Insurance Companies Use Surveillance - as Explained by a Car Accident Lawyer

Sadly, Americans have bought into the tort reform myth for decades now, and it has led to a serious suspicion of anyone who files an insurance claim after an injury or car accident. The truth is, most so-called ‘insurance fraud’ is perpetuated by insurance agents and other business insiders who pocket premiums, fail to turn them over to the underwriter, or other forms of embezzlement schemes. In fact, the FBI explains that premium diversion is the most common type of insurance fraud. Nevertheless, insurance companies continue to go to great lengths to look for ways to discredit ordinary people and strip them of their right to compensation for legitimate claims. One key way insurance companies undermine claimants is through surveillance.

What is Insurance Surveillance?

Like the name implies, this is when an insurance company finds photographic or video evidence to discredit you after filing a personal injury claim. Insurance companies often look for public or private evidence that may reduce or eliminate your claim.

What Type of Surveillance do Insurance Companies Use?

Insurance companies will go to pretty serious extremes to find “the goods” on an insurance claimant. The bigger the personal injury case, the more money the insurance company will spend to avoid having to pay the claim. Here are a few examples of evidence they may use:

  • Traffic cameras
  • Closed caption video
  • Security footage
  • Your own social media accounts
  • Your friends’ social media accounts
  • Public records
  • Anything you post online
  • Private investigators

What are Insurance Companies Looking for?

The goal is to find proof that either you were at fault or you are not as injured as you claim to be. Let’s consider an example. Say that you are badly injured in a car accident and require surgery. You are healing at home but you need to go to the store to pick up prescriptions. You post to your social media page, “feeling great today. Think I’ll make a run to town.” Yes, it is a silly example, but an insurance company may access this and use it at trial to argue that you were feeling just fine, so your claim that you were unable to work is inflated or exaggerated.

Likewise, investigators will often follow injured people to the store, to their gyms, and even to church, just waiting for a moment where they pick something up or bend over, all so that they can capture that moment in a photograph. Taken out of context, isolated videos and photos can be damning to a case.

How to Avoid Insurance Surveillance?

It is important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands New York’s rules of evidence. For something to be admissible at trial, it must meet certain guidelines. If an insurance company is taking video or photos of you without your consent, there could be real problems getting it into evidence. If you give consent or post something publicly, then it is likely open season. The three best things you can do are:

  • Never post online. The world does not need to know about your physical injuries, condition, or the accident. Do not post this stuff online, and make sure to ask friends and family to respect your wishes by doing do the same.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations to the letter. If he or she says it is okay to work out in moderation, then let your lawyer know that you are going back to the gym based on your doctor’s recommendations. If your doctor says not to lift more than 10 pounds, do not go around lifting heavy things. Let your body heal.
  • Report suspicious activity. If you notice anyone suspicious following you or trying to take pictures, contact your lawyer right away.

Hire a Long Island Car Accident Lawyer Today

You should never have to go through a personal injury alone. Your family deserves compensation, and you should be able to focus on getting better and spending time with those you love. Leave the insurance negotiations to us. Speak to a Long Island accident lawyer today. Call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP 24/7 to schedule a free confidential consultation at (866) 895-0420.

(c) Can Stock Photo / AndreyPopov

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