A mystique surrounds private investigators, mostly borne from portrayals in books, movies, and TV shows. While this fictional persona might seem exciting, it can also make the process of hiring one a little bit intimidating. Fortunately, real life isn't like the movies, and hiring a private investigator is a practical decision with benefits for situations ranging from divorces to personal injury claims.
If you're looking for an investigator for the first time, you should put aside your preconceptions. These three tips will help you find the right investigator to handle your case with professionalism and discretion.
1. Ask About Insurance and Liability
Private investigators know the law, and they know how to stay on the right side of it. This knowledge is a necessary component of their business since illegally obtained evidence is rarely helpful to anyone. Of course, accidents can happen, and that's why investigators should carry general business liability insurance along with other specialized forms of insurance.
Before hiring your PI, be sure to bring up any liability concerns you may have regarding your investigation. Investigators typically operate in public locations, so their insurance coverage helps protect them (and, by extension, you) from liability incurred as a part of their investigation. As with any contractor, don't be afraid to ask about the details of their coverage.
2. Meet in Person
You're almost certainly going to have a close working relationship with your investigator, and that may mean multiple phone calls or in-person meetings. If you're planning on hiring an investigator, always speak with them at least once in person. Talking face-to-face can help you determine if your communication styles mesh well.
It's also a good idea to prepare any questions you may have in advance. Bringing a list of questions will help you stay focused during your meeting so you can be sure you're choosing an investigator that meets your needs. Having some information about your case will also be helpful since most investigators will want to understand as much about your requirements as they can.
3. Don't Wait
Whatever your reason for hiring an investigator, it's usually best to do so as soon as you can. While you shouldn't rush the process or be afraid to interview multiple candidates, you also shouldn't delay more than necessary. Evidence can be more challenging to come by as time goes on, and you may find that waiting for too long can prevent you from achieving the result you were expecting.
Ultimately, hiring a private investigator is like hiring any other contractor. You'll significantly increase your odds of success by taking the time to find one that's well-suited for your case.