We recently corresponded with Paul Cicarella, LPI to discuss his work as a Connecticut personal injury investigator. Paul is the President and founder of Advanced Investigations LLC. Paul is also the President of the CT Private Investigators Association, and Vice President of the National Council of Investigation and Security Services.
What is a personal injury investigator and how long have you been involved in that line of work?
A personal injury investigator is a professional that assists attorneys and insurance companies in gathering information to assist in negotiations and litigations for their clients.
This includes taking pictures, obtaining statements, preserving evidence, and most importantly collecting information that might not have been listed on the police report. For example, often time our office is asked to locate insurance, canvass an area for any CCTV footage, and canvass for witnesses. Additionally, a personal injury investigator is also a researcher. Often times to get a better understanding, of the situation an investigator should be researching into prior incidents, submitting FOI requests, or finding experts to consult with. I started doing this in 2004.
What types of cases are you typically asked to investigate for accident attorneys regarding their injured clients?
I have been asked to investigate a variety of cases in my career. Typical ones include the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Dog Bites
- Product Liability; and
- Slip and fall
In a slip and fall investigation, we are often asked to photograph the area and generate a diagram of the defective area. We also utilize equipment such as an ecoefficiency of friction and conduct research into any possible building code violations.
What is the typical process for a personal injury investigation and how do you go about doing that?
Depending on the type of case and the injuries, first, we would conduct a preliminary investigation that may lead to additional tasks. A preliminary investigation typically would include gathering all information available such as police reports, incident reports, photographs, and any information that is time-sensitive, such as CCTV footage, dashcam, body cam, and 911 call which can disappear if not requested or preserved. Once we review the initial information gathered, we then identify the information that is needed.
What are some of the things that you discover that can help a person prove liability in their case?
To help prove liability, obtaining any information that may have not been in any initial reports, such as locating additional witnesses or CCTV footage. Also, requesting 911 calls can be extremely beneficial, oftentimes more than one person calls in to report an accident, provided a great wealth of information. Submitting FOI’s for prior incidents or background knowledge can also be a wealth of information to assist an investigation.
Information that is discovered by a private investigator can be used as evidence, and an investigator can testify to their findings. Also, some information which may be discovered during the investigation may not be relevant or helpful to their client’s case.
What is the single message that you would like to share with people about what you do or about your industry in general?
The PI industry can often be misunderstood, but the goal of a PI is to ultimately uncover the facts of the situation. To do this effectively, a PI must constantly learn new techniques, continuously train with new equipment and technology, as well having a network of experts in their respective fields to collaborate with.
Pro Tip: A lot of information and data that private investigators uncover are time-sensitive. It is very important that you contact an injury lawyer as soon as possible so steps can be taken to properly develop your case before the evidence is lost. To learn more about what needs to be done with a personal injury case, please contact us.