Is surveillance in personal injury claims legal?

Although we are insurance investigators and not attorneys, and by the way, this is not legal advice and you should consult with an attorney before relying on the information presented below; it is based upon our understanding of the law and experience investigating personal injury claims in Michigan.

When a personal injury claim is presented to an insurance carrier, they have an obligation to investigator that claim to ensure that it is legitimate and that benefits should be paid to the injured party. Unfortunately criminals have not overlooked to profits that can be derived from defrauding insurance carriers. Personal injury claims in Michigan are often the target of fraudsters and even average citizens who feel that they can make some extra, easy money by faking an injury and trying to cash in on it.  One of the ways that an insurance company can fight fraud in personal injury claims is to conducted surveillance of the claimant (injured person).  Someone who is not familiar with casualty insurance claims in Michigan, like personal injury claims, may not be aware of the fact that it is legal for an insurance company to have an investigator conduct surveillance of the injured person to determine if they are actually injured. If you think about it, the insurance company really does not have many other ways to weed out the fraudulent insurance claims from the legitimate ones.

What is involved in surveillance of a personal injury claim? It is just as simple as it would seem. A private investigator will attempt to locate the injured claimant and obtain some video of what he or she does when in public view. They do not care what you are actually doing, nor if you are injured or healthy. In short, they get paid no matter the claimant is actually doing.  If someone is truly injured, they still have to live life and do things, but those things are usually limited by the injury and the surveillance will reflect that. What the insurance claims investigators do not do are things like peep into windows, intentionally trespass or try and entrap someone with deceptive practices. They simply watch what happens and leave it up to the insurance carrier and/or a medical expert to decide if someone with that injury should be able to preform those activities. They can watch you at work, while running errands, doing yard work and the other daily activities that take place in public domain.

One thing that is very common is for an insurance claimant in a personal injury claim to think is that the insurance company has a private investigator watching them all the time.  This is absolutely not the case. Investigating a personal injury claim is not personal. They are not “after” anyone. They simply have a job to do and being defrauded is not part of that. Further, surveillance in personal injury claims is expensive and would not be done. The insurance company also know that they only need to watch someone long enough to identify if the claimant is injured. There is no point in saving money by not paying the claimant if instead they intend to give all the money away to a private investigator.


Insurance Claim Surveillance in Michigan for Auto Injury Claims, Liability Claims and Workers Compensation Claims