Limit Your Liability
- Choose an investigator who is licensed. A licensed investigator has been shown to be qualified, vetted, and demonstrated a minimum amount of experience to the state in which he/she is licensed. A licensed investigator eases the burden of due diligence on the client. Clients can be assured that a licensed investigator’s testimony at a hearing will not be disqualified due to felonies or other questionable histories in their background.
- Choose an investigator who is insured. An investigator with sufficient commercial automobile, professional liability, and errors and omissions insurance coverage will prevent liability from falling back to the client if an investigation goes wrong.
- Ask the investigators you use whether the information/documentation they provide will be able to withstand the scrutiny of opposing counsel. Is the documentation accurate, factual, and unbiased? Was the information/documentation obtained in a legal manner? Information is of no benefit in a legal setting if it cannot withstand scrutiny and cannot be entered into evidence for a case.
- Do your investigators adhere to applicable laws during the process of the investigation? Do they adhere to ethical standards set forth by state and national investigative associations? Does the investigator use ‘baiting’ methods by contacting represented claimants, and are they aware of the difference between surveillance and harassment/stalking? Investigators who do not take into consideration trespassing, expectation of privacy, FCRA compliance, etc. will surely increase the liability to their clients. For insurers, an improper investigation can even increase the risk for bad faith claims against those insurers.
- Ask your investigator if the equipment he/she uses can withstand legal scrutiny. Was a GPS tracking device improperly/illegally used on your case? Will the video/photo equipment be able to display date and time stamped footage? Will the video/photo equipment be able to document footage which cannot be easily modified, edited, or otherwise altered? Improperly used equipment can result in increased liability.
- Make sure your investigator is aware that he/she is a representative of you, the client. Know your investigator and do not tolerate investigator misconduct with your cases. Your investigators should conduct themselves in a professional manner from beginning of the case to the end. Does the investigator reflect well on you in a legal setting? Believability and credibility in the eyes of a judge/jury are dramatically affected by an investigator who is professionally dressed and conducts him or herself in a professional manner.
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