People injured in truck accidents have a right to file a claim for compensation with the insurance company representing the trucking company. If the accident is found to be the fault of the trucking company, the driver, or some related entity, truck accident attorneys can help victims obtain compensation.
An important fact that a claimant should know is that they could be subject to surveillance by the insurance company. Although this is permissible within legal boundaries, injured victims should understand what surveillance is allowed and what is not as well as why an insurance investigator could be watching them without their knowledge.
Why Insurance Companies Use Surveillance
When people are hurt in truck accidents, they are entitled to compensation by the person or company ultimately responsible for their injuries. One of the ways an insurer handles its side of the investigation and negotiations is to observe accident victims after the accident in order to obtain evidence about the severity of the injury and how it has affected that persons activities of daily living. If a claimant’s condition is questionable, this creates doubt and could affect the amount of his or her settlement.
This may be justified in some instances, since there are some people who exaggerate their injuries in order to get a larger settlement. In other situations, it can complicate an otherwise fair settlement request if an insurance company can convincingly portray a claimant in a negative light.
When Is Surveillance Likely to Occur?
Surveillance and any attempt to tarnish a claimant’s story or reputation is more likely when injuries are moderately severe, when a hospital stay is relatively short, and/or certain types of treatment are immediately started such as PT or chiropractic treatment. Very serious injuries speak for themselves and seldom need to be monitored very closely. Minor injuries are also more easily settled and dismissed, although sometimes injury exaggeration may cause surveillance to be initiated.
Surveillance may also take place when a trucking or insurance company realizes they are undoubtedly at fault and are looking for a way to reduce the amount of the settlement. Truck accident attorneys also point out that the insurance company is not the only one who may observe a claimant, as many trucking companies hire their own investigators as well.
What Type of Surveillance Is Permitted?
Federal law permits surveillance of those injured in an accident to a certain degree, provided the surveillance does not invade privacy. A person can be followed, video recorded, or engaged in conversation while in public; however, it is not permissible to do things such as tapping into phone calls or recording claimants from outside their windows or other similar breaches of privacy.
Truck accident attorneys warn that some companies will follow online social account postings to observe what information is being exchanged with friends. This is why truck accident attorneys advise their clients to refrain from making any statements or posts about the accident or their injury on any social websites such as Facebook and Twitter, because others may be monitoring such posts to be used to reduce an injury settlement.
The issue of victim surveillance is one that many truck accident attorneys find to be somewhat controversial, especially when insurance and trucking companies push the limits of personal privacy. Therefore, truck accidents claimants must protect themselves by working with skilled lawyers who understand privacy law and can represent them from questionable or illegally obtained surveillance information!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190