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Is My Employer’s Workers’ Comp Insurance Company Spying on Me?

  • July 01, 2022
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If you are involved in a workers’ compensation case and feel that you are being watched, you are probably correct. The odds are good that you are being observed by the workers’ compensation insurance company and in many different ways.

Insurance companies like to collect insurance premiums, but do not like to pay insurance benefits. They look for reasons not to pay you and very often will hire a private investigator to help find those reasons.

Private investigators usually do their work within the confines of the law, unlike stalkers who will often do things that are against the law like peeping through a window or breaking and entering. Private Investigators are licensed professionals and if they wish to keep that license, they must obey the law. Knowing the tactics a private investigator can legally use will help keep you alert and know what to watch for.

Tactics That Workers’ Comp Private Investigators Use

Video and Photographic Surveillance

Insurance companies like to obtain videos and photos of you doing something that you may claim you can’t do when the time comes for you to testify. Private investigators are not allowed to trespass on your property unless you give them permission, but they are allowed to make a video recording of you in any public place without your knowledge.

Videos are made of claimants doing things in public such as:

  • shoveling snow
  • changing a tire
  • carrying groceries at the supermarket
  • jogging
  • walking the dog
  • going to and from work
  • climbing roofs
  • chopping firewood

just to name a few.

The feeling that you are being followed or that someone is recording a video of you can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety. Private investigators may follow you in their own vehicles while you are on the road to obtain needed evidence. A usual indication of someone spying on you is seeing a familiar vehicle. A parked van with a large, mirrored window is often used by Private Investigators who can observe you in your yard, driveway, shopping malls, grocery stores, or just about any outdoor space.

Written Documentation

If you are in a situation where a private investigator does not feel that you can be videotaped or photographed without your knowledge, they may decide to just stand by quietly where they can observe you. They even eavesdrop on your conversations with another person. When their observation of you has been concluded, they will make contemporaneous notes regarding their observations, which are admissible into evidence.

Online Surveillance

You should assume that whatever you post on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are being monitored by an investigator for the insurance company. A photo or video of you on vacation performing an activity that would require the use of an injured body part could be used as evidence and provided to a judge or even examining doctors. Even posts where you are merely smiling or looking happy could be construed as evidence that you are not in pain. A private investigator cannot hack into your account, but they can trick you into accepting them as a friend thereby granting them access to your otherwise private account. As a general rule, you should refrain from using social media for your personal life whenever you have a pending claim and, most certainly, you should never talk about your case on social media.

Direct Contact

A private investigator can pose as a different person, contact you directly, and trick you into discussing your case without you realizing that (s)he is involved in your case. However, a private investigator cannot pose as a police officer or other law enforcement official.

A private investigator can interview you in person under an alias. Be careful when speaking to those whom you do not know and opt not to. For example, you may be contacted by an investigator posing as a commercial lawn mower who is soliciting your business. You decline his offer and tell him that you prefer to mow the lawn yourself, neglecting to also tell him that you are in pain when you do this.

Interviews

Investigators may opt to interview your friends, family, and neighbors who may not be knowledgeable of your situation or as careful as you are. They may inquire about their observations of your activities. You should never discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney. This will prevent others from inadvertently relating information about your case to an investigator.

Audio Recording

An investigator may record audio of you that may be damaging to your claim. Federal and New Jersey law require one-party consent to record a conversation. This means that the investigator may legally record you if they are part of the conversation. If not, then by law they cannot record you unless you or the other party give consent.

The attorneys at SELEM ANTONUCCI LAW have the experience, knowledge, and skill to ensure that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled and to protect you from the unscrupulous tactics of insurance companies. If you have been injured in a work-related accident or have sustained personal injuries through the negligence of another, together we will hold them accountable. Call us today.

 

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