Right up there with banana peels, the neck brace is one of the most popular props in comedy – the hapless guy who is trying to milk an injury for all it’s worth in a court of law. Often, in comedy routines, the truth wins out when our unfortunate hero turns his head toward a loud bang letting slip that his injury is not as debilitating as own feckless manipulation.
In reality, the faker often wins, costing companies in time and money for investigations, negotiations, and court cases. Plus, there is that niggling fact that we’ve all heard again and again, that we all pay for insurance fraud in elevated rates.
Assisting in insurance investigations is one of the most common reasons companies hire a private investigator. Sometimes they are hired to find out whether the insurance claim that has been filed is fraudulent. Other times we are hired to investigate a possible dispute to insurance company findings.
Insurance fraud has been around since 1850 since insurance was first offered in the U.S. by the Franklin Health Assurance Company of Massachusetts against injuries as a result of railroad and steamboat accidents. By 1866, sixty organizations were offering accident insurance in the US. NAIC data states there were 5,977 insurance companies in 2016 in the US (including territories).
In automotive insurance or homeowner’s insurance cases, the claimant may actually set fire to the property to get insurance money. In workers’ compensation cases, the worker may exaggerate or completely fake an injury.
The claimant may have hurt themselves while off the job and are trying to blame their employer. Personal injury claimants may pretend to be injured. In many of these cases, it is a simple matter of surveillance which will be most helpful in gathering vital information.
Insurance fraud investigation is very difficult for a private citizen to do legally. The job of conducting surveillance is not always safe for the individual. The claimant may be aggressive if they see someone they know watching/stalking them. Police can be called and claimants charged with harassment, stalking, or other crimes.
A private investigator is an objective, uninvolved person who can be counted on to conduct themselves within the law, with respect, and with integrity.