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Archive for January, 2011

The Importance of Using an Unbiased Private Investigator

Friday, January 28th, 2011

As claimant attorneys become more aware of the use of surveillance in workers compensation (and other related) claims, they have responded by focusing on the investigation itself.  Many of their strategies lay in questioning the impartiality of the private investigator conducting the investigation. 

Using an unbiased private investigator is critical when insuring there has been no conflict of interest on a case, and that the results produced from the investigation have truly remained objective. The use of ‘in-house’ investigators has proven to be an especially vulnerable area for attorneys to attack the impartiality of surveillance. 

A private investigator has no part in adjusting or administering the claim; the only association they have is in conducting the investigation itself.  Their compensation does not hinge on the outcome of the claim.  Accusation of bias is far less likely to adhere to a private investigator conducting surveillance on a claim than to an in-house investigator. 

Our investigators document all of a claimant’s activities that can be observed in public, assuring the case cannot be discredited through bias. 

Our impartiality is your greatest strength.

Fees/Charges

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Many clients will get tunnel vision when it comes to the hourly fee of the investigator and they use this factor as the only one in picking an investigator. This, of course can be a major mistake. You are not shopping for a shirt; you are shopping for a PROFESSIONAL service; one which requires skill, experience, and knowledge. A client should always look at the case as if it will go to court, even if it never does. It is very difficult to compare ‘apples to apples’ in picking an investigator. More appropriate questions that clients can ask in reference to cost are: Can the client set a cap on the fees and expenses of the case? Can the investigator/agency give an estimate of the cost of completing the case?

Investigators have different fees depending on the case. The fees can include travel time, vehicle rental, mileage charges, toll charges, hotel/meal reimbursements, report fees, court copy/document retrieval fees, court preparation and testifying fees, video/audio copy fees, telephone calls, etc. The investigator should also give updates or progress reports. Keep in mind, however, that with all other charges being equal, if, for example a $70/hour surveillance investigator can give the same results in 5 hours versus a $50/hour investigator can give in 10 hours, which is the better deal?