In a personal injury civil trial, the burden of proof relies on you and your attorney. Therefore it is necessary when considering filing a lawsuit to start building on the preponderance of evidence early–and this is where the need for a private investigator comes in. To give you an idea, we asked some of the best Private Investigators in the country: “How Can A Private Investigator Help Build Your Personal Injury Case?”
View their answers below:
“Hiring a qualified private investigator (PI) is frequently the key to a successful outcome of a personal injury case. Whether the case is a workers compensation claim, vehicle collision, negligence or other personal injury incident; time is of utmost importance. From my law enforcement and private investigative experience, retaining an attorney should be the first priority, a close second is hiring a private investigator. Your PI is your eyes, ears and “boots on the ground”.
Evidence such as surveillance video, witness accounts and physical evidence have a way of degrading over time. Surveillance cameras are usually on a loop and older video will be lost, witnesses may forget key details and other physical evidence could disappear or be tampered with.
Your PI is your cases personal detective. They will obtain incident scene photographs and video, accident recreations, witness interviews and statements, public safety personnel interviews and most important, reviewing already completed incident reports from industries and public safety agencies.
Recently, I worked a personal injury case where a motorcyclist was hit by a national delivery service truck. Witness statements showed all vehicles were traveling the speed limit of 30mph, while the police report indicated the speed limit was 25mph. If this was the circumstance, the injured party might not be compensated for injuries because they were exceeding the speed limit. Thankfully, the attorney for the injured party hired a PI and we were able to prove the officer’s report was incorrect and the speed limit was in fact 30mph at the time of the collision.
Your private investigator could be the key to a 1 million dollar settlement instead of a $100,000 settlement.”
“A seasoned private investigator, like an experienced attorney, knows the questions to ask witnesses to determine or establish liability for either side of the case. Private Investigators are experts at piecing together small bits of information to present the larger picture for the benefit of your personal injury clients. Finally, our relationships with local police agencies, state offices, and hospitals ensure that we have swift access to the essential evidence your client needs to make their case successful.”
-Kyle D. Strunk
Flatirons Private Investigations
“Private investigators can assist attorneys build their personal injury cases in many ways:
- Memorialize witness accounts of the event through interviews and reports.
- Provide detailed witness accounts to assist attorneys with their assessments regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the claim.
- Identify previously unknown witnesses.
- Reconstruct incidents via photographs, measurements and diagrams.
- Locate witnesses or additional victims
- Review incident related reports, i.e. traffic accident reports, for legal team and provide analysis of investigation.
I have performed the above activities, as well as other tasks, on numerous occasions for the attorneys I work with.”
HDS & Associates LLC
“A private investigator is an indispensable asset for tracking down the evidence you need to win your personal injury claim. Lawyers are limited in what they can do for a client if all they have is an injured party. Witnesses need to interviewed and documents uncovered in order to support a claim with facts and evidence.
Years ago, I had a friend refer me to three young mothers whose infant children had a rare cancer called neuroblastoma. The incident rate was 1 in 100,000 live births, but in this small town of Taylorville, Illinois, 3 out 200 infants born that year were diagnosed with neuroblastoma. The mothers suspected that the cause of this cancer cluster was from an abandoned coal gas plant that operated over a century ago. The year before the outbreak of the cancer cluster the utility company CIPS embarked on a “voluntary” clean up of contaminated soil and underground tanks containing coal tar. A total of 7 children developed the rare cancer in Taylorville, IL, by the time the lawsuit went to trial.
The following Monday I called the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in Atlanta, Georgia. I asked a simple question: has any other community in the country had an outbreak of neuroblastoma following exposure to coal tar. I was informed that a company called MSP based in Morgan City, Louisiana, had been burning coal tar without federal hazardous waste disposal permits. A thick black plume of un-burned coal tar belched out from the smoke stack. Within a period of 18 months, 5 infants were born with neuroblastoma.
I located a witness who revealed that CIPS had instructed its engineers to delete predicted pathways of exposure that created an unacceptable risk of cancer. She provided me with internal bates numbers that identified the documents, that we were later able to obtain through a court order.
Next, I tracked down and conducted a lengthy interview with the engineer who was in charge of air monitoring during the excavation of soil and underground tanks contaminated with coal tar. He described “an alarming” level of airborne contaminants being released into the air. He warned the company that residents living nearby the site needed to be immediately evacuated. Not wanting to cause panic, the company waited several days. In this period of delay, an elderly woman living next to the site collapsed from acute exposure to benzene. She provided me with copies of her medical records.
When health officials were sent out to the site to investigate this claim of acute exposure, copies of strip charts were provided that had dates penciled in that showed low levels of emissions. Although there was a record retention policy to keep the original strip charts indefinitely to defend the company against claims of exposure, those records disappeared when our experts requested to review them.
When the case went to trial in 1998, a jury awarded our clients a multi million dollar judgement against CIPS. Donaldson et al v. CIPS became a precedent for future cases in a ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court upholding the jury award. Without the investigation of a private investigator, recovery for the injuries caused by this corporate polluter would have gone unpunished. “
Clutter Investigations Inc.
“The Private Investigator is an asset to your ability to gather the information needed to present your case. This can start by the investigator reviewing the information available and giving an assessment from an investigative standpoint. This could be canvassing the accident area for additional witnesses, conducting recorded or non-recorded interviews of witnesses, conducting scene investigations to determine the conditions prevalent at the time of the injury, etc. In addition, witnesses can be located when the attorney has limited information on the witness and can served the appropriate court documents. In my experience this not only assist in winning the case if it goes to trial but can give the attorney the ammunition to convince the opposition that it is best to settle the case with the appropriate settlement.”
-Richard L Hogan, MSCJ
Hogan Investigative Services, Inc.
“A good Private Investigator can make or break a case. Many times it comes down to “he said–she said”. Finding the impartial witness can save the day. We have gone to great efforts many times to locate, interview and preserve testimony of such a witnesses. A Private Investigator must be creative in his approach to this task as most people do not want to get involved . Evidence can be tainted and become useless unless great care is taken.”
WORLDWIDE INTELLIGENCE NETWORK
Private Investigations & Personal Protection Specialists
“How Can A Private Investigator Help Build Your Personal Injury Case? In one word, the answer is evidence. If you were injured at work, an experienced PI will visit the scene of your injury and gather detailed evidence that can support your case. Examples may include taking pictures of dangerous work conditions, interviewing current and former employees, recording testimony of key witnesses, and obtaining video footage of the incident. In workplace injury cases, a PI can research your employer and identify previous lawsuits against them, locate citations for unsafe work conditions, obtain the business’ insurance information, and provide detailed documentation about prior workplace injuries.
If you were injured in a car accident, a PI can obtain DMV records for the other driver, locate and interview witnesses, and in some cases, reconstruct the accident so that a jury can easily understand the circumstances that resulted in your injury. If you were injured due to someone’s negligence, a skilled PI can go undercover and possibly record the negligent party admitting to wrongdoing, or covertly record them acting negligently in other circumstances. A PI can of course obtain a detailed background check on any person of interest, in addition to thoroughly searching the internet and social media platforms for evidence that could substantiate your claim. A PI can also question the negligent party’s current and prior neighbors, coworkers, and associates to gather leads and corroborating evidence. If the negligent party has a history of substance abuse, financial misconduct, or criminality that may have been a factor in your injury, a PI can provide you with the proof you need.
In summation, an experienced private investigator can produce the information and evidence necessary for you to win your case. If you have questions about how a private investigator can be of assistance to you, please call Elite Legal Services for a free consultation. Our investigative department can be reached at 303.635.6934.
Kashen J. Mathers
“An ‘injury that happens to your person,’ i.e., traffic accident, slip and fall, dog bite, etc., is enhanced by an Investigator’s diligent research while obtaining accurate witness statements, descriptive photos of the incident area, and specific measurements, all of which are subject to prior experience in personal injury cases.”
-David H. Kale
Kale Investigation Agency / Kale Adjusting Company
“[You get] Immediate on site photos, secure witness statements, get ambulance reports and EMT Names,. Doctors, etc. Photos of timer and date stamp photos of injury, check out other previous reported injuries.”
–Total Security Inc.
“A Private Investigator brings independent verification to already established facts creating continuity of information supplied by every party relative to the incident.”
“Results Since 1976”
We can help destroy your personal injury case by piggybacking with the attorney who took the deposition. We’ll know exactly what the injured party should and shouldn’t be able to do coupled with the details to the injured person’s personal life. We’ll establish a game plan, a budget, and execute the plan.
Paramount Investigative Services
“The importance of finding a good private investigator is equally important as the attorney you choose. An investigator who is specifically trained and experienced in a specific area is imperative to the case. Only they will know what areas need to be followed up on, looked at, reanalyzed, and developed. The bottom line is you must take control of things and demand that your needs are met. In serious life changing cases, there is no medal for second place. There is one opportunity to make a first impression, we better make it count!
Personal injury accident investigators who have the experience necessary are essential to your case because there are few true accident reconstruction police officers; therefore, Law Enforcement puts very little effort in determining the course of events leading up to and after a crash. If your case involves a premise liability, such a slip are and fall, it was most likely an employee of this establishment that “investigated” this initially. They are there to look after the establishments best interest NOT yours! These employees have very little to no training in investigating these types of accidents and they far from unbiased. If you are working with an insurance company their job it to get you to go away with as little out of pocket expense to them- you are nothing but a nuisance to them! You need someone on your side!
Accident Reconstruction is a science based on several factors and circumstances. Every event is unique and there is no such thing as a “simple accident”. Accident reports may have errors and are expected in ALL reports. Although, errors are not intentional, we are all human, and we all make mistakes. Major accidents scenes are very tedious, detail orientated, intail long hours, and human factors begin to take effect. Short cuts are taken, reports are not as thorough, and evidence is over looked-compromised – left behind- not photographed, the list goes on and on. This oversight in procedures could drastically effect the direction of an investigation. These errors affect your livelihood!”
“A private investigator likely has ideas/ways to locate witnesses, documents, or pertinent information that an attorney may not have known about. Private Investigators can not only help locate potentially helpful witnesses and information but they have the knowledge and experience necessary to know which questions to ask and how to make an otherwise skeptical witness, amenable. PI’s know which doors to knock on and how to get people to talk to them.”
Carlson Investigation Services, LLC
“Information is key in the successful resolution to any case. Proper use of a private investigation firm can increase the amount of information you obtain exponentially. As soon as we receive case information we start providing results. In most cases all you have is an accident report and a client’s version of events. That is only part of the big picture and it is not enough to make an informed decision on where to go with the case. We locate and call witnesses, law enforcement, and defendants. Often we are able to obtain recorded statements and scene photographs from the people involved. We can conduct background searches and asset checks on subjects and businesses. On top of interviews we search for video of the incident and scour social media for additional information. Not only can we order reports, but our staff can read and interpret the accident to provide you with a clear picture of what happened as well as investigate the scene itself. We are proficient in court record retrieval so you don’t have to be. By utilizing private investigators you increase the efficiency of your staff because they are not spending time on investigative tasks. Ultimately professional private investigation provides you with peace of mind that you have performed your due diligence.”
Davis & Associates Professional Background Services
“[We can help] by:
1). Collecting evidence the at-fault’s background and determining whether the other side has made accurate and thorough disclosures,
2). Obtaining statements from witnesses that police didn’t identify and never spoke with, 3). identifying insurance policies and limits,
4). Identifying liable parties, and
5). Collecting adverse information about your client’s background so that you can prepare to deal with it instead of being surprised.”
Ross Investigators, PC
“Private Investigators can help with a personal injury case for sure, we can take photos of the location where the accident took place, such as photos of a large crack in the pavement where someone tripped and broke a leg. We can take photos of a step in a dressing room, where it was difficult to see the step and there were no signs warning about the step.
We can also find possible witnesses that saw the accident and take a statement from them.
Of course each personal injury case is different and you should have what I call a “Pow Wow” with your attorney and a private investigator so they can use their experience to figure what is the best way to prove your case, most personal injury cases get settled before they go to court, but the more you are ready and have a solid case, the faster it will get settled and the more money you will get.”
Hover View Investigations, Inc.
A private investigator is an asset to any personal injury case. Specifically, I am able to help in my past roles as a police officer and insurance SIU investigator. With that experience, I am able to evaluate any police reports, accident diagrams and the like to ensure that they are documented correctly and represent the facts. If the attorney is litigating against an insurer, I am able to provide insight as to the insurer’s perspective and what the hot points may be for them.
My other skills are interviewing, locating witnesses and getting papers served. Being able to find witnesses to speak to, get them to open up and to read the body language and interpret what they are saying is critical. I used to work as a legal assistant and have spent time with attorneys in preparing cases. It is important to understand and gauge if this person/witness will be credible or valuable in court. This also applies to the client. Many times folks are intimidated by lawyers and the court system in general and will withhold information. A skilled investigator will be able to elicit the details, find, and evaluate further leads. As far as service goes, it is no help if you can’t find the person to show up, or find the defendant to initiate litigation. I am dogged about my serves and in addition to getting the documents served, ensuring they are served properly.
One other area where we may assist in personal injury cases are locating assets. I have the ability to obtain records and reports that show the history of the person which not only goes to credibility but helps the attorney evaluate whether or not it is worth the time and money (although I hate to say this because everyone should have their day in court) to proceed with a lawsuit. You have to judge the ability to pay and the merits of the case. Sometimes you think you have a winner and when you start investigating, it becomes a stinking fish….
A last area that comes to mind is on the recovery end. Once the judgment is awarded, it is important to have an investigator that may again locate assets and bank accounts, locate employers and work with the client to recover the judgment. This also may apply In recovering funds so that the attorney is compensated. We have a great track record.
Strategic Intelligence Services PLLC
“With the right and experienced private investigator personal injury law firms can maximize case values and get great results at trials.
The following recommendations are detrimental to any personal injury case in order to build the foundation of every case from the beginning of the case and not when trial or an arbitration hearing is about to commence.
It is detrimental to Inspect and Photograph the vehicle immediately after the collision. We will assign an investigator to inspect and photograph the vehicle and request to preserve evidence, this must be done as soon as the case is retained by the attorney.
Premise must be inspected immediately after the incident to capture the conditions. We will inspect and photograph the area of incident immediately and locate interview witnesses.
Whatever the case may be, from dog bite to slip and fall; you need evidence right after the incident; We will interview the surrounding neighbors from dog’s vicious propensities to ongoing neglect by the homeowners.
Product Liability cases, detrimental to have the product. We will retrieve, inspect photograph and demand to preserve evidence
Witnesses and Defendants must be contacted immediately after the incident for interview. We will conduct recorded and/or videotaped in-person, or over the phone recorded statements.
Personal Injury scene investigations must be conducted immediately after the incident. You will need to capture the existing conditions, if any security cameras in area and canvas for witnesses, or if case involved traffic signal dispute, traffic signal phasing is a must.
INSURANCE COVERAGE ISSUES:
Our experienced former claims adjusters will review your case if coverage was wrongfully denied. We can assist you to prepare your bad faith case.
These are few of the items will immensely assist on all personal injury cases.”
-Harry Kazakian, CA PI 22511
USA Express Legal Support, Investigative & Claims Management Services, Inc.
Private Investigators can be a tremendous asset to Attorneys in both civil and criminal actions. Our investigative firm has many personal injury attorneys who rely on our investigative services from start to finish, assisting the attorney in the proper representation of their clientele. A rapid response at the onset of the case is the most important service that a competent investigator can provide. The investigator can meet with the client at the hospital or residence immediately following an accident in order to complete the contingent fee agreement, releases and notification forms. At this time a comprehensive fact sheet can be completed by the investigator in order to document the facts regarding the accident. The investigator can then immediately travel to the accident location in order to secure photographs and evidence before the scene is disturbed. Interviews can be conducted at this time while the incident is fresh in the minds of the witnesses. Finally, the investigator can secure incident reports, official documents and insurance information for Counsel. A comprehensive, organized report of investigation with all of the aforementioned information can then be delivered to the attorney so that he or she has everything that they need to move forward, guaranteeing a successful resolution. So you can see, the benefits of using a competent private investigator are obtaining the information that Counsel needs in a prompt, thorough and professional manner.
“Being a skilled investigator and to help them build their case, I find people/witnesses, information, assets, photograph crash sites, testify in court, and help settle or win cases. Additionally I find that some of my attorneys like to sit down and talk about the case. This helps to build the case and ensure we are on the same page. Investigators thrive on answering the seemingly unanswerable question and solving the problem that needs to be resolved. Lastly, depending on the side my client is working for, Plaintiff or Defendant, my team and I spend a lot of time doing surveillance, attempting to see if the complainant may or may not be faking the injury in question.”
Pro PI, LLC