Thursday, December 18, 2008

Insurance Company Surveillance: Beware The Van...

Fairfax Virginia personal injury attorney Ben Glass is right on the money in a recent post about insurance companies spying on injured people who've made claims or filed lawsuits. We've witnessed this with our own clients on more than one occasion.

Case in point. A negligent driver pulled out from stop sign into the path of our client, causing significant fractures and numerous surgeries. The insurance company for the negligent driver hired a private investigator (PI) to secretly photograph and videotape our client at work, and outside the home.

Here’s the real creepy part. The PI secretly videoed our client at her home from across the street in a van (always be suspicious of a van parked on the street next to your home for long periods of time). She also followed our client to work, and to restaurants with her friends. We discovered the investigator’s identity, and subpoenaed her entire file, including the tapes. When we took the PI's deposition, we learned that she was unsuccessful in videoing our client doing any strenuous activities, despite many hours of surveillance. We also discovered an e-mail from the insurance adjuster to the investigator giving the following marching orders after the investigator came up empty: “We just really need to get something on ______ asap.” The investigator ended up spying on our client for FOUR MORE MONTHS! The videos revealed so little and were such a bust that the insurance company's attorney didn't even introduce them at trial. But that disn't stop the insurance company from spending thousands of dollars on spying tactics.

This tactic is not uncommon, as creepy as it is. In certain cases, insurance companies will stop at nothing to get out of paying on a claim. Fortunately for our client, this tactic went nowhere, and the jury returned a fair verdict.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is normal money seeking or saving behavior for a business person. The insurance com[any is in the business of making money. If it pays out money it collects in premiums,as payouts in suits, it gets to keep less of that money and it will insist it must take more money from everyone or it will go out of business. Of course this is nonsense. Insurance is the most profitable business to be in. But if you do a thing to get money; naturally you want to keep it all and even legitimate claims begin to seem like criminal conspiracies to rob the insurer of his legitimate and necessary profit.