Is Someone Watching Me? LTD Claims and Surveillance
During a long-term disability (LTD) claim, it’s common to feel like you’re under intense scrutiny. The insurance company may ask you the same questions a dozen different ways. It may send you to a medical exam. The adjuster may even ask to visit you at home. However, the insurer may be going even further: you may also be under surveillance.
Insurance company surveillance is intended to capture your daily activities, helping the adjuster make a determination about your physical limitations. However, surveillance not does not always fully and correctly reach this goal. In this article, the team at Bryant Law Group discusses the essentials of surveillance during an LTD claim and explains how you can ensure an accurate review of your claim.
The Insurance Company May Try to Damage Your Credibility With Surveillance
Insurance adjusters look for potential red flags in claims that may suggest that an LTD claimant may be untruthful about the severity of their condition. If an adjuster finds inconsistent medical records, varying activity levels, or changed accounts of physical limitations, they may decide to hire a private investigator. These investigators use a variety of techniques to determine whether you’re being completely honest with the insurance company, including in-person and electronic surveillance.
Look Out for These Common Surveillance Tactics
During your LTD claim, the insurance company may use a variety of tools to assess your credibility and look for alleged fraud, including:
- Electronic surveillance: Investigators monitor your social media and other online accounts and track your activity.
- Physical observation: Someone follows you or sits outside your home, recording your activities.
- Interviews: The adjuster or an investigator visits you, your friends, or family to get information about your health and activity levels.
If you see an unknown car parked in front of your home for hours, it may be an investigator. Similarly, the adjuster’s “friendly” suggestion to meet at your home may have other motives: they may be looking for evidence that you’re more active or healthier than you claim.
What Should I Do if I’m Under Insurance Company Surveillance?
First, don’t panic. Many times surveillance efforts do not result in video evidence that will hurt your claim. If you’ve been consistent and honest with your doctors and the insurance company, then surveillance should not capture anything harmful to your claim or credibilty.
Still, an investigation often feels invasive and uncomfortable. To limit its impact, follow these recommendations.
Give Your Doctors Accurate and Detailed Information
It’s easy to gloss over your symptoms and daily challenges when you talk to your doctors. Instead of telling them that you’re “doing okay,” provide them with an honest and detailed rundown of your symptoms, pain levels, and concerns during every appointment. It’s a good idea to keep a pain or disability journal where you log your daily symptoms; this journal can help you and your doctor understand the severity of your condition.
However, you also shouldn’t exaggerate your symptoms, since it could damage your credibility. Always stick to the truth.
Don’t Exceed Your Doctors’ Restrictions
If your doctor gives you a five-pound lifting restriction, follow it. First, you risk reinjuring yourself if you ignore these activity restrictions. Second, if a private investigator sees you carrying a 25-pound bag of potting soil, the insurance company will argue that you’re not being completely honest or that your doctor overstated your limitations.
Lock Down Your Online Profiles and Limit Your Activity
Today, most surveillance happens online. While investigators can’t hack into your accounts, they can track your activity and posts if they’re public or you accept them as “friends.” During a long-term disability claim, you should make your profiles private and limit your posting.
Never imply that you’re doing better than you actually are. For example, don’t say you “spent the day fishing” if you really sat on a pier for 10 minutes before the pain became unbearable. Similarly, ask your loved ones not to post pictures or content about you until the claim is over.
Finally, never accept a friend request from someone you don’t know and ask your loved ones to do the same.
Don’t Confront the Investigator
There are limits to what a private investigator can do. For example, they typically cannot record you inside your home or in areas where you have an expectation of privacy, like a bathroom or changing room. They also cannot threaten you or put you in harm’s way.
If an investigator breaks these rules, it’s best not to interact with the investigator. Instead, call your attorney and explain what’s going on. They’ll suggest next steps that align with your best interests. However, if you are ever in a threatening situation or imminent harm, call 911 first.
Bryant Legal Group: Standing Up to Insurance Companies
If you have questions about your LTD claim and surveillance, contact Bryant Legal Group. We’re one of Illinois’ premier disability insurance law firms, and we know how to handle invasive and upsetting insurance company investigations. To get advice during a free consultation, call us at 312-561-3010 or complete our online contact form.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.