Do Insurance Companies Spy on Auto Accident Claimants in CO?
Do insurance companies spy on auto accident claimants? In some cases, they do, especially when they face the risk of paying a large settlement. You should seek the advice of your car accident lawyer and behave as if the insurance company is watching you.
Insurance companies often spy on insurance claimants. Their goal is to find information which they can try to use against people in order to deny their claims or to pay the least amount possible. So, if you have a potential auto accident injury claim in Colorado, you need to be aware of the possibility that you could be spied on.
Why Would an Insurance Company Watch Me?
Most auto insurance claims for bodily injuries boil down to three issues. Those three issues can make or break your case and mean the difference between recovering compensation or being left empty-handed with thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
- Liability – The first issue is the liability, or fault. You can bet that the other driver’s insurance company will argue that its driver was not at fault. Likewise, if liability is clear, the insurance company may try to suggest that you were partially to blame. So, the insurer will use investigators to look for anything it can use to shift blame.
- Injuries – Next, the extent of your injuries will be a major concern. For example, if you broke a bone, the insurance company is going to want to know how much the medical bills were, whether those medical bills were reasonable and if you had pre-existing conditions that may have caused the injury instead of the accident. This is another thing the insurance company will hunt for when it spies on a claimant.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering damages comprise a major portion of an auto accident settlement or verdict. An insurance company may look for evidence that your injuries have not affected the quality of your life. For instance, are you still able to do work around the home, play sports and enjoy other activities as you did before your accident?
How Can the Insurance Company Spy on Me?
Insurance companies can spy on injury victims in many different ways, including:
- Internet searches – Insurance adjusters may do quick internet searches, looking through sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Tumblr. Adjusters will look for pictures of you, videos you have posted and other evidence that they will use to prove that you are not really as badly hurt as you claim. Insurance companies are not above taking a photo out of context.
- Passive surveillance – If an insurance company suspects fraud or thinks that you are not really as badly injured as you claim, the company may hire a private investigator to follow you, take photographs or even get a video of you throughout your day.
- Active surveillance – Some insurance companies will conduct this type of surveillance in high-value cases. A private investigator may make contact with witnesses, speak to neighbors, colleagues and even your relatives.
Will the Insurance Company Watch Me If I Have an Auto Accident Claim?
It all depends on what the insurance company hopes to gain by watching you. If liability is clear, the damages are obvious, and a quick internet search turns up no “dirt,” then the chances are that the insurance company will move on to legal defenses and reviewing the medical evidence. However, if the insurance company finds something questionable or potential information it can use to avoid paying you, then it is likely that the insurer will invest the money to conduct some form of surveillance. Situations in which insurance companies will likely use surveillance include where:
- Potential for fraud exists
- Witnesses contradict your version of events or your assessment of your injuries and pain and suffering
- Medical care goes on for a long time even though the collision was a minor one
- The insurance company finds something online showing you active.
Social Media Best Practices After an Accident
After you file an auto accident claim, you should be aware that social media sites will be the first place that insurance adjusters and investigators will go to find potentially harmful evidence. With that in mind, you should follow these practices:
- Keep it private – At a minimum, set your profile to the most private setting you can on all of your social media accounts. Set your accounts so only friends can find you and communicate with you.
- Limit tagging – With Facebook and other sites, other people can take your private photos and re-share them with tags. An investigator can find your images on someone else’s page without you even knowing it or consenting to it. If you don’t understand your settings, learn more about them.
- Limit friends – You should never “friend” people that you don’t know. A person who sends you a friend request could be an insurance adjuster who is using a fake profile and seeking to learn more about you, your friends, your accident and your life.
- Watch what you post and share – Many people are tempted to immediately post pictures of their accident, text them to friends or share them through e-mail. These are not secure ways to communicate. Only a communication directly to and from your lawyer is secure. All other communications are subject to discovery and subpoenas. For instance, you may text a friend after a crash and say, “I’m doing OK. Just shook up.” Your text may seem to be harmless. However, an insurance adjuster who intercepts this message somehow can put it up on a giant screen at trial, allowing a defense lawyer to argue to a jury that shortly after the crash, you were just fine.
- Avoid public forums – Finally, you may be tempted to go on public forums and legal sites to ask questions about your injury case. These are not secure places as well. Your comments are not considered attorney communications and could be used against you.
Our Colorado Auto Accident Attorneys Can Help You
If you have been involved in a car accident in Colorado, you should immediately seek legal help from an experienced attorney at The Sawaya Law Firm. We can help you to avoid costly mistakes, protect you from insurance companies and, ultimately, pursue the maximum amount of compensation for you. To learn more, call or reach us online today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.