After a car accident, construction accident, slip and fall, or any other type of accident, the attorneys for the parties involved will try to prove that their client was not at fault, no matter what. But, is it legal for insurance companies to spy on you?
According to Mitchell Proner, an accident attorney who is head of the personal injury firm Proner & Proner, insurance companies can spy on accident victims in New York as long as it’s in a public space.
Under NY State law, insurers may not enter the injured victim’s home or tap into their phone lines. However, insurers are allowed to follow them as they go to medical appointments or to work. They can also take photos and videos that can be used in the settlement or trial to try to show that the injuries are not as serious as the plaintiff claims.
“We can’t do anything to prevent insurers from spying on our clients, but we can warn them to be careful when they go out,” explains Mitchell Proner.
This is a warning that he always gives his clients in the first consultation because he has seen his own clients lose money due to insurance companies spying.
“I had a client, many years ago. His name was Juan Galarza and he was 78 years old. He was working on a roof and fell. He broke his legs, his ribs, his neck, his arm, his head. He broke everything! He was in the hospital for many weeks. When he got out, I started the lawsuit,” says Mitchell Proner.
Two years after the accident, when the lawsuit was ongoing, the personal injury attorneys at Proner & Proner received a video at the office.
In the video, Juan Galarza was crossing a street leaning on his cane when a car passed by, very close, and then he ran out of the way. Mitchell thought, “That’s okay, I can explain to the jury that this was foul play to scare my client, but it still doesn’t mean he can walk normally.”
In the second part of the video, Juan Galarza, who was then 80 years old, climbed some steps to an appliance store with his cane hanging from his arm. He later left the store carrying a small cooler, went down the stairs (cane still hanging from his arm), and carried the cooler for a five blocks.
“With every block he walked, the value of the case went down, because we can’t say that our client is unable to work because of his construction accident when we know that the insurer has those videos,” confesses attorney Proner.
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Social Media: Another Weapon For Insurance Companies
The drive home and to medical appointments are not the only times accident victims should be careful not to jeopardize their right to compensation for their injuries. Insurance companies are also watching what they post on social media. A moment of fun can possibly cost you the money you need to continue with your treatment and recovery.
Putting your crutches or your cane aside to take a photo of yourself on the beach may have been difficult for you due to your physical limitations but the lawyers of the insurance company, judge, and the jurors may think they see a healthy person who is able to return to their job.
Social Media Don’ts
- Don’t talk about your case. It’s important that you not discuss information about your case, progress, health, or accident on social media or any public forum. This can have a negative impact on your settlement.
Social Media Dos
- Use strict privacy settings. After an accident claim is filed, it’s important to make sure insurance companies don’t have anything to use against you. We recommend using the strictest privacy settings when posting to prevent insurance companies from seeing any kind of imagery or statements that can be manipulated and used against you in a deposition.
- Manage tagged content. Monitor your what your friends post on social media involving you as well. Set up approval for tagged photos or comments. This way you can control what is added across social media platforms.
- Follow your attorney’s advice. Seek guidance from your personal injury lawyer about how to handle social media posting after your injury claim is filed. At Proner & Proner, our experienced personal injury lawyers in Manhattan know how to work with—and against—insurance companies and have successfully settled many personal injury lawsuits.
How Likely is it that the Insurance Company Will Spy on Me?
Insurance companies are more likely to spy or hire a private investigator when the potential pay out is high. This means they are looking into more serious cases that could award the plaintiff a larger sum of money. These types cases include:
- Catastrophic injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Loss of limbs
- Traumatic brain injury
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
Should I Exaggerate or Lie About My Accident Injury?
Of course not. You should never lie about your state of health in an accident case!
A good personal injury case is won with the truth. In over 60 years of operation, this office has never seen a million dollar case for a minor injury. However, we have also seen cases put at risk by insurance company “spies” who take photos and videos of our clients on the very day they felt or appeared to be feeling well.
Tips to Protect your Accident Case from Insurance Company Spies
- Take your doctor’s advice. Remember that your health is the most important thing and optimal recovery requires rest. Avoid unnecessary movement both at home and in public.
- Be mindful of your social media posts. Remember that insurers will look for evidence that your health is better than what you and your doctors say it is.
- Keep living your life. You don’t have to lock yourself up at home forever to prove you’re injured. If your injuries are healed and you can go back to work then that is good news, but your accident case is likely to be worth less money.
- Hire an attorney who knows how to deal with insurance companies. Proner & Proner has 60 years of experience litigating accident cases in New York and other states. Mitchell Proner is famous among his colleagues for his ability to convince juries to award maximum compensation for his clients. if you don’t believe us, check out the testimonials of real victims we’ve helped at our firm here.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Personal Injury Attorneys at Proner & Proner?
Hiring the right attorney for your claim could change your life. You can call us any day, at any time! Schedule a free consultation with our lawyers and find out what your legal options are, without lies and without false promises. Leave your accident case in the hands of Mitchell Proner, a lawyer with proven experience in million-dollar cases.
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