One misconception following a motorcycle accident is that insurers are eager to pay out compensation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Virginia insurance companies have grown so large because they aggressively scrutinize and deny claims. If you were injured riding a motorcycle, you should call Correll Law Firm. Our Winchester motorcycle accident lawyer can handle your claim and deal with pesky insurance adjusters. In this article, we need to confront an uncomfortable topic: insurance industry tactics, including spying on injured victims. It happens more than you think.
Why Do Insurance Companies Spy on Injured Claimants?
There is a simple reason: self-interest. An insurance company is always looking to increase its profits. Any money paid out to injured victims reduces the company’s profits, so these companies often search for ways to reduce—or completely eliminate—what they pay.
One tactic is to claim you are exaggerating the pain you feel. Insurance companies therefore hope to find evidence that you really aren’t sitting around the house in pain. That’s why they might send a private investigator out to your house to spy on you. At a minimum, you can expect them to sift through your social media accounts to find information which justifies their refusal to pay you fair compensation.
What are insurance companies looking for?
Insurance companies spy because they are seeking specific information. No one is interested in what you watch for television at night. Instead, they are usually seeking two types of evidence:
1. Proof you are not seriously injured. The more serious your injuries, the more compensation you can receive. Motorcycle accident victims can seek money for medical bills, bike repairs, and lost income. But you can also seek money for pain and suffering. An insurer wants proof that you are lying about the pain and limitation you experience so they can pay less.
2. Evidence you are at fault. Virginia remains a contributory negligence state. If you were partially to blame for your motorcycle accident, even a little bit, an insurer can refuse to pay you anything. They will look for some admission that you are partially at fault for your wreck.
Insurance companies use many techniques to uncover evidence that helps them with a case. We have seen or heard about the following.
Shadowing You with a Private Investigator
Insurance companies often have private investigators who will drive by your house to see if you are outside playing with your dog or grandkids. If you are, they might whip out a camera with a telephoto lens to take pictures. The insurance company will then pull out these pictures and say, “You sure don’t look injured here.”
Investigators cannot break into your home or trespass onto your property. They also can’t tap your phones or intercept your emails. But if you’re in public, they can follow you and take photographs or video. And if you are outside, they can stand on the sidewalk or in a car parked on the street and record you.
We don’t want to scare people, but insurance companies have used private investigators before. These people might also follow you around town and take pictures of you stepping into the grocery store or a doctor’s office.
Mining Social Media Accounts
Insurance companies have also been known to scrape social media accounts for information. Again, they are looking for evidence you aren’t seriously injured or that you are admitting fault for the accident.
If your profiles are public, they will search for:
- Comments about the accident. You might have admitted in a post that you were speeding while riding your motorcycle. An insurance company can seize on this admission and use it to claim you are at fault for your collision.
- Photographs of yourself after the crash. You might have pictures of yourself enjoying a hike, trip, or afternoon on the golf course. Even pictures of you smiling after an accident might prove useful to the insurance company.
- Location information. Some social media platforms allow you to “check in” whenever you go someplace. This information might show you traveled far from home after your accident. Say you went to a hotel in South Carolina for a cousin’s wedding. Facebook shows you checked in. The insurance company might claim this trip shows you aren’t in pain—even if you were up to your eyeballs in painkillers.
Can Correll Law Firm Protect You?
Yes! Our Winchester motorcycle accident lawyer can share his best tips for protecting your privacy. We don’t want clients to become paranoid and never leave the house. Sometimes, going for a walk helps with the recovery process. Still, there are simply things you can do to fight back against these underhanded insurance tactics:
1. Make social media profiles private. Facebook, X (Twitter), and Instagram have this option. Set it to private so that no one can simply scroll through your account.
2. Stop adding social media friends. At least, wait until your case concludes. You don’t want a sneaky investigator sending you a friend request.
3. Stop posting—but don’t delete information. Even when an account is private, you should stop posting until your case concludes. An insurance company could ask a judge for permission to look through your account. It’s rare, but it happens. On the flipside, don’t delete anything already posted, which could constitute destruction of evidence.
4. Maintain a pain journal or diary. This type of daily journal helps document the pain you feel. It also helps rebut arguments that a simple walk outside your house shows you are pain free. Maybe you felt incredible pain but powered through to get some fresh air. A journal helps back up this claim.
5. Be sensible. You aren’t required to remain bedridden to seek compensation. However, you should also avoid even attempting strenuous exercise or even long trips until your case concludes.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Winchester Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Let Correll Law Firm build your motorcycle accident case. Call our law firm today, 540-535-2005, to speak with our attorney.