Can an Insurance Company Spy on Me After a Car Accident?
Do Insurance Companies Spy on Car Accident Claimants?
The answer to the question “Can an insurance company spy on me after a car accident?” is quite simple. The answer is yes, the insurance company can and will spy on you after an auto accident and even hire private investigators to film you at home and around town. Over the years, our firm has seen many insurance companies spy on our clients after auto accidents or work injuries.
Private Investigators Hired After Car Accidents
In some cases, insurance companies hire a private investigator to follow or “spy” on an injured claimant after a car accident. They do this to obtain evidence that the injured victim can perform acts that the victim says he or she can’t perform in an effort to diminish the claim for compensation. In other words, the insurance company wants to catch you doing things to prove that you are not honest. “Private eyes” have phones with amazing video clarity so the investigators can easily film you without your knowledge. If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth ten thousand words.
There are limitations, however, on an insurance company’s ability to “spy” on a personal injury claimant. We’ll discuss those limitations a little later in this article.
Insurance Company Spying After a Car Accident: A Real-Life Example
In one recent case, a client called our office complaining that a private investigator was following him. After speaking with our client, we determined that the insurance company hired the private investigator to get our client on video. In addition to watching the client at home, the private investigator followed our client to our office to meet with his attorney.
In our opinion, watching a client while he or she is meeting with an attorney crosses the line. When clients visit their attorney’s office, they expect privacy and confidentiality as they are discussing legal and confidential matters. Attorney Gene Riddle took matters into his own hands and confronted the private investigator on the street at a stoplight and then called law enforcement who intercepted the private investigator at our office. The insurance company pulled the private investigator off this case.
Can the Insurance Company Legally “Spy” on a Claimant?
Yes, but the insurance company has to “spy” on you under lawful means and not violate your privileged and protected rights. In the past, our clients have asked us, “Is the insurance company allowed to follow and watch me?” This is a valid concern that many personal injury claimants have. Not only have they sustained serious injuries, but now they have to worry about the insurance company watching and analyzing their every move.
Public vs. Private Spaces
An insurance company can hire a private investigator to follow you if you are in public. However, legal issues can arise if the private investigator follows or spies on you in a place where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The line between what constitutes a public and private space can get murky. For instance, it is likely a violation of privacy to spy on someone when they are in their home. However, a private investigator can watch you while you are taking out the garbage or mowing the grass. Essentially, this means that as long as you are in a public space, such as a sidewalk, a private investigator can observe you. In places where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, though, like your home or attorney’s office, it could be illegal for a private investigator to watch you.
“How Can I Protect My Case if the Insurance Company Spies on Me?”
For many car accident injury claimants, it seems extremely unjust for the insurance company to watch them after they were injured by the insured. However, the insurance company’s main priority is to pay as little money as possible for your injuries. As a result, insurance companies are notorious for spying on clients in order to try to obtain evidence that diminishes the personal injury claim.
In order to protect your legal rights and avoid weakening your claim:
- Be smart and vigilant and don’t do things that the doctors say you can’t or shouldn’t do
- Be cautious about what you place on social media because this can give investigators and insurance companies unnecessary information about you
Most importantly, if you believe that the insurance company hired a private investigator to follow you around after a car accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Riddle & Brantley — for a FREE consultation, call 1-800-525-7111.
While it might be legal for insurance companies to spy on you in public, there are certain places where privacy is expected. Our firm has dealt extensively with insurance companies spying on clients and we will happily help you navigate through this stressful process.
For a FREE and no-obligation consultation, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the fast and easy form below.
“Will the Insurance Company ‘Spy’ on Me After My Car Accident?”
Clients also ask us how likely is it that the insurance company will spy on them after they file their claim.
This is often determined on a case-by-case basis.
Insurance companies hire private investigators to obtain video footage of clients who’ve suffered the most serious injuries even when liability is clear. With the rise of social media, insurance companies have increasingly started spying on personal injury claimants online.
Insurance Companies and Social Media
Insurance defense firms have been known to search through claimants’ Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platform posts. The insurance company goes to these sites to gather evidence that the claimant is not as seriously injured as he or she claims to be. For these reasons, it is extremely important that you do not post anything related to your injuries and that you also limit who can access your social media profiles. Your social media posts can and will be used against you. In addition, the court may force you to disclose everything you posted about the accident and your injuries if you file suit.
“When Would an Insurance Company Spy on Me After a Car Accident?”
Insurance companies and their attorneys are more likely to hire investigators to spy on car accident victims when the injuries are severe — and the insurance company may have to pay a lot of money on the claim. The following list includes the types of cases where we have found insurance companies more likely to spy on you:
- Death cases
- Loss of limbs
- Paralyzed arms or legs
- Brain or spinal injuries
- Multiple surgeries
- Permanent injuries
- Extended medical leave with thousands of dollars in lost wages.
The insurance companies usually hire private investigators on cases that could cost the company a lot of money. So, if your injury is serious, you should probably call an attorney soon after your accident.
Protecting Your Online Privacy and Legal Rights
Recently, Riddle & Brantley has seen insurance companies and defense attorneys use social media posts to try to devalue personal injury claims and wrongful death cases. If you have recently suffered an injury from an auto accident or work accident, review the tips below to help prevent insurance companies from using your social media posts against you.
- Be extremely careful when posting anything on social media after an accident. We recommend that clients refrain from posting any pictures or videos on social media while your claim is active. We don’t want to give the insurance company any ammunition to use against you. Once the suit is filed the court will compel you to provide all of this to the other side.
- If you continue to use social media, make sure to use the strictest privacy settings available. By limiting who can access your social media profiles, you can reduce the insurance company or private investigator’s access to your information and content.
- Add friends and followers carefully. Don’t accept just any friend or follower request. Make sure you actually know the person trying to follow you. Insurance companies may try to gain access to your accounts by trying to follow you. A private investigator can also friend you and obtain access to information to be used against you later.
- Be mindful of sharable content. Limit who can tag you in a post. Finding posts of you that others have shared is another way the insurance companies can gather evidence against you.
- Follow your attorney’s advice. Even though social media is one of the primary ways we all connect with others, it is important to limit your activity on these sites during a personal injury claim. Posts before or after your accident can drastically impact your claim. By following your attorney’s advice, you can limit how much the insurance companies can use against you.
For more information on social media posts and how they might affect your claim, check out our blog on Social Media FAQS.
“If you’ve filed an injury claim, protect your case. Do not post about the accident or your injuries on social media.”
–Gene Riddle, attorney, Riddle & Brantley
Is the Insurance Company ‘Spying’ on You After Your Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and believe the insurance company is following you or trying to obtain information that may jeopardize your claim, please call 1-800-525-7111 to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Riddle & Brantley.
Our North Carolina car accident attorneys have more than 220 years of combined legal experience and we know how to handle the insurance companies. We’ve assisted many clients who have been followed by insurance companies, and we are dedicated to protecting our clients’ legal rights.
For a FREE, no-obligation consultation with an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111.
“Riddle & Brantley got me all the available money from the insurance companies.”
–David Howard, Riddle & Brantley client
There is no obligation, and you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we win for you.
Please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your claim. You may be entitled to compensation and you deserve justice.