Ever since your car accident, which left you in constant pain, you’ve been noticing an unfamiliar car parked near your home. Today, you receive a strange friend request on Facebook.
Although there may be a routine explanation for these incidents, it’s equally possible that the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster is using a private investigator to track your daily movements and look for evidence that belies your injury claim.
There are many ways that private investigators can monitor you:
- Fixed surveillance: More commonly known as “stakeouts,” this approach involves the investigator watching you from a set location, such as your home or workplace, to see if you behave in ways that contradict your injury claim. For example: lifting heavy objects or playing golf when you file for a back injury.
- Tracking: The investigator follows you as you go about your daily activities.
- Electronic surveillance: The investigator looks for information online, usually in your social media pages, where you may be inclined to present yourself as healthier and happier than you really are.
While a private investigator can legally monitor you without your knowledge or permission, they don’t have carte blanche to dig into your life. For example, the law prohibits them from taking the following measures:
- Recording you in areas of your home where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as your bedroom or bathroom.
- Installing a wiretap on your landline or monitoring your cell phone conversations
- Hacking into your email accounts
- Entering your home without permission
If you spot someone trespassing on your private property, then you are within your rights to tell them to leave immediately. If they refuse, then you can call law enforcement. For added protection, while your personal injury claim is being resolved, set your social media accounts to private and refuse all friend requests from anyone you don’t know.
It is important to note that insurance companies don’t automatically assign a professional to investigate every injury claim. If your case happens to be an exception, then you can protect yourself by:
- Refraining from exaggerating your symptoms or speculating about the extent of your injuries
- Following your doctor’s orders. If you’re having a “good day” pain-wise, then you may be tempted to push yourself beyond your recommended limits and catch up on housework and errands. Don’t do it: an insurance company could use video footage of “good days” to harm your credibility, and you risk aggravating your injuries.
When you file a claim after a car accident, your New York personal injury attorney will probably talk to you about the risk of surveillance during the time before your case is resolved. If you have questions or are concerned that you may be under surveillance, then your attorney will advise you on the best way to proceed.
Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, NY personal injury and accident lawyer. If you were injured in a car accident, then contact Mr. Lutzky’s office at 718-329-9500 to learn about your rights. Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person consultations. Visit MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com/Accidents for more information.