Case Studies: Insurance Defense
An Exaggerated Injury Established and a Claim Withdrawn
Megan Gershon had recently moved to the area, and her personal injury claim moved with her. Trace Investigations was referred to the out-of-state insurance defense counsel. We placed Megan under surveillance over a period of several days, but we observed little activity. We knew that walking her dog would hardly serve to defeat her alleged lower back injury. Megan was unemployed and spent most of time home alone. Fortunately, in addition to our field investigation, we were monitoring social media sites for any postings by Megan. One day we saw a note on a public web site that said she was excited because “It’s moving day!” We quickly dispatched our surveillance team, and they arrived in time to witness a moving van backing up to Megan’s apartment. Megan soon appeared and assisted the movers in loading the van. We captured her on video carrying furniture to the van and loading other items in her SUV. Our surveillance continued as Megan drove to her new apartment, followed by the van. Once again, our team was able to capture her unloading items from the moving van and her vehicle. The video showed her bending over, reaching, lifting and carrying items, some of substantial weight, but with no obvious impairments on her part. We also videoed her smoking a cigarette on three occasions that afternoon, a habit she had failed to reveal in a previous deposition.
The following week, not satisfied with only Megan’s physical activity during the move and with client consent, we continued the surveillance and established that Megan had started a new job. Again, our surveillance revealed no obvious signs of impairment and Megan had resumed normal activity.
Result: We forwarded our investigation report, including DVDs, to our client. We learned soon after that, under advice of her counsel, Megan Gershon had withdrawn her million dollar claim against the insurance company.
Dishonest Employee Dismissed, Money Recovered and Future Loss Prevented
Howard Burkhart was drawing temporary disability payments from his former employer, a self-insured company. Howard had been injured a few weeks earlier while repairing and restoring transmissions for resale. When the company’s claims manager got a tip that Howard was running a business out of his garage, he phoned Trace Investigations. Over the next two weeks, we verified the tip: Howard was working on small engines out of a well-equipped shop in his garage. We captured on video a number of clients stopping by his shop, dropping off and retrieving items for repair, including lawn mowers, generators and motorcycles. We identified a few of these clients and later obtained statements that they had used Howard’s services and had witnessed him working on small motors and transmissions.
After reviewing the evidence provided by Trace Investigations, the client called Howard in for a consultation regarding the material misrepresentation on his injury claim.
Result: Our client terminated a dishonest employee for cause and subsequently recovered disability payments made to Mr. Burkhart. Their investment in Trace Investigations’ time and expertise had saved them from future loses.
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All names have been changed for privacy concerns.