The investigation of suspicious insurance claims has been well established as a legitimate and necessary practice in the defense of fraudulent claims. Over the years, case law has developed that supports surveillance investigations when conducted in a legal manner. Whenever investigative activity, including surveillance, is challenged by a claimant or plaintiff counsel, it will most likely involve, for example, a charge of invasion of privacy, trespass, unfair claims practice or bad faith, or emotional distress. An excellent article on best practices when conducting insurance defense investigations was recently authored by a colleague of Trace Investigations, Jay Groob of American Investigative Services in Brookline, Massachusetts. Jay’s article first appeared in PI Magazine and more recently in the Winter 2018 edition of the quarterly newsletter of the International Intelligence Network. A sidebar in the Intellenet newsletter details the protocols we at Trace Investigations also apply to our surveillance investigations; and we quote:

  • All surveillance, shadowing, trailing, or following must be conducted in a reasonable manner and unobtrusively.
  • Never engage in any activity that is, or could be perceived as, harassment of the subject.
  • The individual(s) conducting the surveillance must not enter upon the property of the person who is being surveilled.
  • The subject must be in public view when he or she is being watched or filmed.
  • Whatever the investigator can see from a public place is deemed not private.
  • It is not proper to invade the subject’s privacy by shooting or peering through doorways or windows, unless the subject is visible to the public.
  • The surveillance should be aborted if the subject becomes aware he or she is under surveillance.

Nothing in this newsletter should be considered legal advice. For all questions about the legal aspects of anything referenced here, consult with qualified legal counsel.

When you need assistance with a legal investigation, contact the professionals at Trace Investigations, 812-334-8857.