A good investigator in this day and age develops internet search and background investigation skills. The more information you have before you hit the street, the better your chances of documenting the truths that some claimants would prefer to keep hidden.
In this instance, “the street” would not come into play. Our assignment was internet background and social media investigation. Our subject was represented, the accident was low impact and a policy limits demand was coming.
There are certain cases where “normal procedure” will produce no usable product while subjecting the investigator to potential difficulties. Subjects that live in very bad neighborhoods and drive as if auditioning for the demolition derby fall into this category.
This was a claim of bilateral carpal tunnel on its way to a finding of total disability. The first pass through the neighborhood in which our subject lived was not encouraging – very minimal parking in an area manned by drug dealers and their runners virtually 24 hours a day. The crack cocaine industry does not tolerate surveillance cameras or non-customers hanging around.
There are times when the claim reeks of fraud from the beginning. The examiner or the employer can react to red flags immediately. When this condition arises, simultaneous assignment of both AOE/COE and surveillance investigations can be an extremely effective. Chief among the many benefits of assigning an AOE/COE investigation and surveillance together is the certain knowledge of where the subject will be on the day the statement is to be taken.
While we have handled many cases in this manner, one standsout as a particularly good example. The EE was claiming almost 100% knee disability. She had her statement with our AOE/COE investigator and a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the same day, so we knew she would be active. Our investigator arrived early and was alerted to a slight movement at the door of the second story entrance to her home. Quite suddenly, the EE exited and dropped a file of papers down her steps. The investigator obtained excellent film as she moved quickly, gracefully and without apparent difficulty to retrieve the documents in several trips. Her walking and bending skills, demonstrated on steep steps, appeared completely unimpaired.
The subject we were hired to investigate had numerous subjective back related complaints, supposedly the result of a fall from a loading dock. The injuries could not be verified by medical exam and he had been released back to work under modified duties (lifting restricted to 10 pounds, restricted bending and twisting).
The subject continued to report to work but was regularly leaving early complaining of pain. The subject’s general appearance (big, strong, apparently healthy) and the subjective nature of the complaints were the “red flags” that triggered bringing in an investigator.