After filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may notice strangers around your neighborhood following you as you go about your day-to-day business. You are not being paranoid; chances are good that the insurance company that provides your employer’s workers’ compensation policy has hired a private investigator to gather information about your condition. This may seem intrusive, but it is legal for an insurance company to hire surveillance to make sure that you are not lying about your condition. Unfortunately, the law does not require an insurance company to show a reason to suspect that you might not have been honest about your condition. However, there are limits to what a private investigator can do and ways you can protect your interests while your claim is pending.
What Are Private Investigators Allowed To Do?
It is legal for private investigators to follow you around while you are in public, watch what you do, and keep records in the form of photographs and video. This is called surveillance, and it is within the bounds of the law as long as you are within the public view. This includes anything that you do on your own property if you are outside. In some jurisdictions, private investigators are even allowed to observe you and take pictures through a window while you are inside your own house.
The private investigator is looking for evidence that you are not hurt as seriously as you claim to be. The workers’ compensation provider can then use that information to deny your claim. The investigator is also allowed to talk to your neighbors as long as he or she is honest about his or her identity. The investigator may ask your neighbors if they have seen you doing anything that you said in your claim you are no longer able to do.
What Are Private Investigators Not Allowed To Do?
Private investigators are bound by laws that protect your rights and place limits on what they can do. Examples of activities that private investigators are prohibited from doing include the following:
- Impersonating law enforcement
- Putting a tracking device on your car
- Hacking into your electronics or online accounts
- Trespassing on your property, which includes entering your home without consent
How Can You Protect Your Interests?
Be aware of your activities and try not to say or do anything that could be interpreted to contradict your claim. This includes what you post on social media. Keep curtains, blinds, or shutters closed so no one can see inside.
In theory, as long as you are honest about your condition, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about from private investigators.