Knowledge base

Is Insurance Surveillance Legal?

In short, yes. Video and camera surveillance is often used by insurance companies to obtain evidence of the true extent of a claimant’s injuries.

Private investigator doing insurance surveillance

For example, if you were injured at work and subsequently make a Workers’ Compensation claim, WorkCover may decide to conduct covert surveillance of your activities to determine whether you are physically limited to the extent that you claim.

This may involve a private investigator using a video camera or still camera to capture images of you while you are going about your daily activities.

This type of investigation is legal, however, there are limits on what private investigators can film.

Injured? Get expert advice now: Smith's are Queensland's only 100% risk-free injury compensation lawyers. Insist on our 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch' ® promise. Check your rights with no risk or obligations now and talk direct to our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

What are private investigators allowed to do?

Although private investigators are licensed under the Security Providers Act, they do not have any rights beyond those of an ordinary citizen and they are bound by all state and Commonwealth laws.

Private investigators cannot legally:

Forcing entry to house and private property
  • force entry to a premises
  • trespass on your property
  • seize your property
  • bug your phone;
  • access confidential government-held information;
  • use a listening device to overhear, record or monitor a private conversation that they are not a party to;
  • take video or photographs of you in a private place or doing a private act  in circumstances where you would reasonably expect privacy.

What can a private investigator record me doing?

A private investigator can take photos or videos of you and your home unless:

  • they trespass on your land in order to do so; or
  • they are recording “private activities”.

“Private activities” include things like undressing, using the bathroom, showering or bathing or intimate situations where you would reasonably expect privacy.

A private investigator may legally take video of you going about your daily life inside or outside of your own home or at another private property. They may also follow you when you leave your house and film you in public places.

Private investigators will often follow a claimant to their medical appointments to confirm their identity, so be especially aware in these situations.

What should you do if you are under surveillance?

CCTV camera and insurance surveillance

If a private investigator obtains video footage of you doing things that you have told doctors that you cannot do, or that doctors have told you not to do, you may appear to be exaggerating your injuries and your claim for damages may be at risk.

It is therefore important that you be aware of the possibility that you will be filmed and take care at all times when you are out in public or performing activities around your home. Do not do anything your doctors have told you not to do or anything that your insurer could use to minimise your injuries.

What can you do if you are being harassed by a private investigator?

If you feel that a private investigator is acting unethically and is not abiding by the law, you can lodge a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading.

Get in touch with Smith's Lawyers for expert legal advice, and find out if your right to privacy has been breached. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

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Last update on:
June 1, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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