Surveillance: An Insurer's Tactic
Though it might seem devious, an insurance company will go as far as to conduct surveillance after motorcycle accidents in Victorville. An insurance representative even has the potential to go as far as monitoring a motorcycle accident victim’s social media accounts in the aftermath of a collision.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Victorville, it is in your interest to avoid social media sites altogether or at least avoid referencing the accident, your health, and your activities on the platforms. Furthermore, you should be aware that the insurer might monitor your offline activity to get a sense as to whether your injuries are as significant as claimed. Here is what to be aware of when it comes to insurance surveillance after a motorcycle accident.
What Insurance Surveillance Is and Why Insurance Companies Use It
Victims of a motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, car accident, or any other motor vehicle accident deserve to be compensated for damages suffered. Unfortunately, not all insurance claims that are filed are, in fact, legitimate claims.
Preventing fraudulent claims from being settled is one of the top reasons an insurance company will conduct surveillance. This tactic to prevent a payout is when an insurance company contracts an investigator to follow an alleged motorcycle accident victim and records their activities. They do this in an attempt to determine if the person filing a disability claim or personal injury claim is being truthful and that the extent of injury does not contradict his or her deposition testimony. Another major reason behind insurance companies conducting surveillance is to protect their assets.
Disability Claim vs. Personal Injury Claim
Following an accident that caused injury, people tend to hold off on pursuing legal action. Typically, this is because they are suffering disability or serious injury and need time to heal. This is understandable, but it is important not to wait too long, so you do not miss the deadline to file a claim. Additionally, consider the various types of claims that can be filed, such as a disability claim or a personal injury claim.
The term “disability” is used from a legal standpoint, rather than a medical one. Essentially, it defines a person who has been mentally or physically impaired due to injury, and as a result, unable to work. When this occurs, the injured person may be eligible for disability insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If someone is injured in an auto accident, they may qualify for short-term disability benefits but may not qualify for long-term disability benefits. In order to support the claim request, the applicant must gather information such as current earnings and medical records.
Personal Injury Claim
This type of claim can be filed by a plaintiff who has been wrongfully harmed by the negligence of another individual or entity. Instead of receiving disability benefits from the government, compensation can be recovered from the liable party’s insurance company.
Filing a motorcycle accident claim with insurance companies will require proof that the other party was predominately at fault for causing the accident and breached his or her duty of care. Evidence of losses and damages must also be provided within a two-year time to comply with the statute of limitations. The legal proceedings are very complex and will often require assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney.
How Insurance Companies Protect Their Bottom Line Utilizing Social Media Accounts
According to the NHTSA, around 5,000 motorcycle riders pass away from crashes on a yearly basis. This statistic is all the more concerning when you consider the motorcycle driver/rider fatality rate is up nearly 10% over the previous three years. It is clear that drivers are not fulfilling their duty of care to vulnerable motorcyclists. Driver negligence leads to both death and life-altering injuries. While these accidents should be fairly compensated to victims, the process after filing a claim with insurance companies is not so simple.
In order to protect their bottom line, insurance companies will hire a human investigator to surveil claimants during their daily activities, as well as social media activity. Privacy laws allow them to conduct this type of investigation in public places or any other type of public setting, including social media sites or related links. However, reasonable expectation limits an investigator to only surveil their targets in public places and not on private property.
These surveillance tactics can be used as evidence to limit the amount of money you receive in a settlement or court award. If the fixed surveillance reveals you are not seriously injured or if it appears that you have no injury at all, an insurance company can deny your case.
Insurance Surveillance Is Unlikely, Yet Possible
There is no reason to live in a state of paranoia after your motorcycle accident in Victorville. If the potential payout is not a substantial loss or if a personal injury claim can be negotiated down, the insurance company is unlikely to pay a private investigator to watch your every move.
However, there is a chance the insurance company will monitor your activities on the internet and on social media. If there is evidence that your injury is not related to your motorcycle accident in Victorville, that you are not badly injured, or that you do not require short-term/long-term disability benefits, insurance companies might deem it cost-effective to begin surveillance.
In particular, if the insurer anticipates your case will reach the point of trial, surveillance tactics are much more likely to be initiated. If anyone approaches you in the aftermath of your Victorville motorcycle accident, do not talk to them. More importantly, do not provide any information about your health, your disability, or the crash, as this can be used as evidence against you. Rather, your best course of action is to insist you have legal representation and for them to defer to your attorney.
When Will an Insurance Company Conduct Surveillance?
Insurance companies can hire a private investigator and begin surveillance at any time. Therefore, expect an investigator to be watching at any time. Keep these particular surveillance tactics in mind.
- To get an early scope on a claimant and the extent of injury, insurers typically begin conducting surveillance once a claim is filed
- Insurance surveillance can occur within a consecutive three-day period and can go on for an extended period of time in multiple stints
- Investigators will typically surveil during the day when the lighting is good for photographing and recording claimants
- It is easier for an investigator to begin surveillance when they can locate claimants, often by means of social media sites and when they post pictures
With each example in mind, remain vigilant and observant. Monitor social media activity but do not delete your accounts, as this can be interpreted as suspicious activity or an attempt to rid of evidence. Also, if you notice an unfamiliar car parked in your neighborhood, be wary. Although you have nothing to hide, an investigator may attempt to present a claimant in a manner that will hurt his or her case. If investigators accomplish this, it will be easier for insurance companies to deny claims.
Types of Surveillance Tactics an Insurance Representative May Use
If the insurer determines surveillance is prudent, the company will likely take a look at your social media accounts to see if there are any pictures or posts highlighting recent activities. As an example, if you insist your motorcycle accident caused a nasty back injury yet you post pictures to social media of yourself golfing, you will bolster the insurer’s case and ultimately reduce your chances of obtaining a significant amount of financial compensation.
Though you can set your social media accounts to private, accepting an incoming friend request from another party or connecting with someone who is friends with the insurance company’s social media account or even an employee at the insurance company can provide them with access to your page.
Investigators might even perform video surveillance of you in the aftermath of your motorcycle accident in Victorville. If the video surveillance reveals you are performing activities that should not be possible with the severity of the injury you suffered in the motorcycle accident, it will be difficult to win your case. Ultimately, you will be sabotaging your case and your chances of obtaining financial compensation.
Protect Yourself Against Insurance Surveillance Tactics
The moral of this blog post is that it is in your interest to always tell the truth about your Victorville motorcycle accident. Do not exaggerate the extent of your injuries, pain, or disability. Be honest about injuries related to the motorcycle accident in Victorville so that you do not risk hurting your case.
Follow your doctor’s orders in terms of physical activity. Otherwise, if you go against your treating doctor’s orders, there is the potential risk that an investigator was conducting video surveillance of you not following your treatment plan, which can ruin your case.
Prioritize justice in the form of financial compensation, heed the advice of your doctor and be patient while the legal process plays out. By doing so, you will have done your part to reduce the chances of intrusive surveillance tactics from an investigator. To strengthen your personal injury case, consult with a lawyer for guidance.
At Rockview Accident Lawyers, we help clients recover the compensation that is owed to them after a motorcycle accident. If someone else’s negligence caused your pain and suffering or disability, the responsible insurance company must pay for those damages. Do not assume they will simply make wrongs right. Schedule a free consultation with our lawyer today to learn how we can help you with your motorcycle accident case.