Insurance Company Surveillance Tactics
Companies often use disability surveillance tactics in an attempt to discover that a claimant is not really hurt and should be able to work. Their goal is to deny or terminate a claim. Long term disability companies can potentially lose millions per year on fraudulent claims, so they invest significant time and effort into determining which claims are legitimate. This often penalizes people who are really hurt and deserve disability benefits.
If you think you’re being investigated by a LTD company in order to deny or terminate your benefits, you should consult with a disability attorney right away. We can give you some necessary advice to help you maintain your legitimate benefits. Call CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC today for help.
What Is Surveillance?
Surveillance may occur in a variety of ways, but it basically means that a person follows you around in order to uncover a hidden truth. For LTD insurance companies, surveillance may be used to dispute alleged restrictions and limitations for a person who has made a disability claim. If an insurer suspects that a claimant had exaggerated their disability claim, they may have surveillance placed upon them. Both individual and group LTD companies engage in these disability surveillance tactics.
Where Does Surveillance Take Place
Insurance companies may have someone watch you or record video of you in any place where you do not have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” This means anywhere they can see from a public location.
If you have signed an authorization allowing the insurance company to gather information about your claim, they may be able to gain access to more private locations, such as a gated community.
In general, the inside of your home is considered a private location. You can expect to have privacy in your bedroom, bathroom, and other locations within your house. If a private investigator records you inside your house, that surveillance may be considered illegal. The law generally protects you in areas where you have an expectation of legitimate privacy.
Types of Surveillance
There are different types of surveillance that an LTD insurance company may use, including:
- Fixed Surveillance – This is often called a “stakeout.” It involves an investigator watching you from a distance at specific locations for a period of time. Fixed surveillance may involve more than one investigator and more than one location. It is generally used to observe normal daily routines between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m., or normal waking hours.
- Stationary Technical Surveillance – This is similar to fixed surveillance in that there is a fixed location where video and sound recorders may be placed. There is no human investigator involved in stationary technical surveillance.
- Tracking – This involves determining where you are going and where you have been. A human investigator may follow you around inconspicuously or tracking technologies, such as GPS, may be used.
Depending upon the value of your claim, the LTD insurance company may use one, a mixture, or all of these techniques to prove that you are not disabled. Their goal is to show that you are exaggerating your claim and do not actually have the limitations described in your medical records. For this reason, you should always adhere to your doctor’s orders and limitations, even if you are having a “good day.”
Is Surveillance Legal in LTD Claims?
While surveillance may be unsettling, it is typically legal in LTD insurance claims. However, there are many factors to consider about the legality and practical use of surveillance in insurance claims.
Insurance companies are allowed to evaluate the validity of information that you submit on your disability claim forms. They do this by following you in public to determine if there are any inconsistencies in your medical records and what you are actually doing on a daily basis. If your doctor limits you to lift no more than five pounds, but you are seen carrying heavy furniture into your house, then the insurance company may question your disability. If you are in public, doing things like driving, shopping, or even at a restaurant for dinner, it is legal to record you.
Home Visits from Insurance Field Representatives
While recording inside your home is generally illegal, the insurance company may try to gain access to that privacy by requesting a home visit. Insurance field representatives may come to your home and request to speak with you face-to-face. They are attempting to see where you live, learn about your driving habits, see how long you can sit, stand, and walk, and more. They will also be evaluating your ability to focus, concentrate, and remember things during the interview.
You should consult with an attorney before sitting down with insurance field representatives. Discuss your conditions and how they may be affected during an interview. If you do agree to allow insurance field representatives into your home, you may be releasing your expectation to privacy during the interview.
Contact a Disability Attorney Today for Help
Insurance company disability surveillance tactics can be difficult to navigate. While you’re worried about healing, the insurance company will be trying to find ways to deny or delay your claim. Contact CJ Henry Law Office, PLLC today to work with attorneys who understand the scrupulous tactics of insurance companies.