There are no secrets anymore.
Everything we do is documented and recorded somewhere. Every moment leaves a data point. Insurance carriers have been leveraging this data for decades. They can create client pools, risk profiles, and forecast the future. Fortunately for law firms, this data is becoming more accessible each year. Law firms are able to research facts about their clients and counterparties more frequently and earlier in the process. No more uncertainty about prior injuries or prior convictions. No more surprises from social media behavior and content. No more ambiguity about policy details and prior claim history. No more secrets in a world full of data.
Make sure your firm is also benefiting from available data by conducting research in these 4 areas:
1. Background Checks
You don’t know who you’re dealing with until you look into someone’s past. Law firms want to know as much information about all associated parties. Background checks can provide information about an individual’s contact information, including past addresses and phone numbers. It also includes information on an individual’s assets, employment history, and known associates. Background searches will also include any criminal history that the individual may have in their past.
2. Social Media Investigation
People will post just about anything online nowadays. Accessing this information can provide organizations with a wealth of information regarding their search targets. By using machine learning, social media investigation tools can flag questionable content including drugs/alcohol, violence, derogatory language, and other risk factors. It can also be used to track a user’s social media and notify organizations about any questionable content as soon as a post is made.
3. Claims History
Insurance carriers have used claims history for decades to analyze risk and set premiums. As the data becomes more accessible to third parties, law firms are using this information to calculate their own risk of moving a case into litigation or approving additional case expenses. Claims history searches can provide insight on prior claims along with details on prior injuries.
4. Policy Limit Searches
By having access to policy limits, law firms can make better case management decisions. Unfortunately, sometimes the limits prevent clients from getting the full medical care they deserve, it can also ensure that they don’t rack up medical bills that exceed their potential recovery. Law firms are increasingly searching for policy limit data earlier in the case to ensure they are providing the right guidance to their clients.
When To Research
The more data you have and the earlier you have it, the better decisions you can make.
Law firms have started investigating all parties as early as the intake process to get a better sense of the people associated with the case. Attorneys have used prior research to determine if their client is honest. Any prior convictions? Any prior injuries? Imagine investing in a personal injury case to only find out the client had prior accidents, one of which resulted in surgery. If the information is out there, wouldn’t you want to know it as soon as possible? Attorneys will also access this information prior to filing lawsuits to understand what the insurance carriers certainly already know. It’s no longer a question of IF the law firm should research these data points. It’s a question of WHEN.
How To Research
Most law firms are familiar with LexisNexis and Westlaw. These are two of the largest legal research tools available. Most of these platforms require a monthly subscription fee on a per-user basis and can also have additional costs based on the search type. These databases, while expensive, are incredibly valuable for law firms and their staff.
Unfortunately, even these platforms will limit law firms’ ability to research some databases. Law firms are increasingly turning to Private Investigation companies that can access additional data points. Given the organization’s investigative license, they can access private databases not available to the general public. Private Investigations firms typically charge per search. By finding a reputable private investigations company, law firms can get access to valuable data points and information.
Chad Weston is COO of Bloodhound Investigations, a full-service private investigation firm with over 50 years of combined experience in a variety of areas and legal services. We pay special attention to your needs, pride ourselves on delivering consistent, outstanding results, and adhere to strict ethical and legal guidelines. Browse our investigation services to learn more about how we can help you.