Surveillance: Time and Context Matter, Seattle Private Investigator

When you’re ordering a private investigation in Seattle or any other area, the number of days for surveillance and when those days take place are important because this is critical in taking advantage of opportunities to observe impactful behavior and placing that behavior in the proper context. The context will help determine whether certain behavior fits a claim or not.

 If you’re watching a video of someone in a Seahawks jersey walking to CenturyLink Field, it might not seem out of the ordinary if that person is walking briskly with a normal gait. However, if just yesterday we observed that same person walking very slowly or labored with the aid of a cane or crutches then you have an opportunity for comparative analysis. What you’re seeing in the surveillance will allow you to put that behavior in a much different context.

It’s this comparative analysis that ultimately, we help provide: comparison between what they’re claiming they’re able to do with what they’re actually doing with enough evidence to show that this is a consistent pattern of behavior and not an anomaly.

Surveillance on Consecutive Days and Full Days

To put a person’s true lifestyle on display, it helps to monitor activity on consecutive days and full days rather than trying for a couple of hours here and there. Monitoring activity on different days and at different times is also crucial if you’re trying to demonstrate misrepresentation.

Often, the assumption is that if we haven’t seen anything in four hours, we won’t. That’s not always the case. It’s good to remember that we’re seeing such a small slice of a person’s life. If we only monitor for those few hours, we might miss out on opportunities, but we could also fail to establish patterns of activity and behavior.

Appointments Provide Context for Surveillance Footage

Appointments can serve a variety of functions around surveillance. The most obvious is that it can help us determine where a claimant lives by picking them up from the appointment at somewhere like Harborview Medical Center and following them to their home in Lower Queen Anne. The most important function it serves, however, has to do with putting the behavior in context.

Generally, surveillance around medical appointments is best viewed as supplementary. It helps demonstrate the disconnect between how a person presents to doctors, counselors, and therapists and how a person acts when going about his or her normal life.

Our clients that have the most fraud orders typically do surveillance the day before, of, and after the doctor, appointment to provide the best possible context. This also helps to document the validity of a claim that a doctor may have exaggerated an injury during an examination. This is especially useful with independent medical exams (IMEs).

 One thing to be wary of when doing surveillance around appointments happens more often when the claimant is represented or a habitual offender/career claimant. Be prepared in these instances for the claimant to be more aware of their surroundings but also that they may “ham it up” more as well if they think someone is watching. If surveillance is only done on this day then it may be damaging, but when it’s placed into the proper context, it can go a long way toward demonstrating a willful misrepresentation.

Call McDonald & Associates if you are worried about potential fraud or misrepresentation. Our Seattle private investigators may help you in unexpected ways.

For additional information regarding our complete line of investigative services, please visit our website at or contact us via email at