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art1-nov2015Every investigator begins a case with the goal of reaching an outcome that supports the client’s objective. However, preconceived judgments can skew the investigator’s outlook, can impact yours or your client’s credibility, and may create irreparable damage.

Several years ago, ResultQuest® was called upon to evaluate the work conducted by another investigations company that had conducted surveillance in a worker’s compensation case in which the subject claimed to have suffered a debilitating workplace injury —leaving the worker severely limited in his activities, and preventing him from driving or walking without aid.

A representative of the other investigation company had stated in an initial meeting with the client law firm, “These guys always lie—we’ll get him.” The company’s investigators then proceeded to spend over 100 hours following a male, presumed and boldly reported to be the subject, and documenting his activities in and around the subject’s small hometown in East Texas. This individual was targeted after the investigator witnessed him driving a car owned by the subject, and often parked at his residence.

Aside from assessing the results of the other investigators, our directive from the attorneys was to establish the veracity of the subject’s injury claim. Upon initial appraisal of the video footage of the physically active male driver, we recognized him to have facial characteristics that bore close resemblance to a photograph of the subject; however, he appeared to be shorter and moderately slighter in build. Supplemental research performed by our investigators identified a brother of the subject, approximately one year older with similar attributes. We were able to determine that the individual the other company had monitored and videotaped was actually the older brother. There was no indication that the other company had discovered or even considered the existence of a brother.

Additionally, the other company’s investigators had reported that the rural location of the subject’s home rendered discreet visual observation of the premises impossible. However, under suitable pretext our investigator approached the owner of a large agricultural tract across the street from the home. The farmer actually volunteered his disdain for the subject due to past issues over unauthorized hunting, and permission was granted to park a surveillance vehicle at an inconspicuous vantage point on the property.

Over the course of two sequential days, our investigator used long-range lenses to obtain comprehensive videotape documentation of the events at and around the subject’s residence. This enabled us to extensively record a male who matched the photo—and the physical description—of the subject. This individual, ultimately confirmed to be the subject, moved slowly with the aid of a walker and spent much of his time on the front porch of his home, seated in a chair that he only accessed with assistance from other persons—including the brother who had been targeted for surveillance by the other company.

Furthermore, preliminary research showed that the subject’s mother owned a neighboring home, and was seen visiting and assisting the subject throughout the course of both days. The brother of the subject resided with the mother, but opted to drive the subject’s car. The other company had failed to discover the mother’s property, as well.

Based on our observations it was determined that the subject did in fact appear to be restricted in his activities. Fortunately the client’s law firm had elected to wait to deliver its report to their client, the subject’s former employer, until we had completed our initial investigation and report. Although the results did not provide evidence of fraud on the part of the subject that might have enabled the employer to avoid further liability, the truth was presented and the law firm’s reputation remained untarnished. This would not have been the case if the erroneous results of the first investigation company had been relied upon as fact.

You can count on the professionals at ResultQuest® to investigate without assumptions. We arm ourselves with the proper preliminary research and then pursue the truth, wherever it might lead. When you need accurate information, be sure to call ResultQuest® at 713-781-9040.