Though often confused, civil and criminal cases are different, and are therefore investigated differently. Civil cases are private disputes between individuals or organizations in which a person or entity brings forward complaints that another person or entity failed to uphold their legal duty. The accusatory party will usually ask for completion of the duty and compensation for the harm done. A private investigator can be hired by one or both parties involved and can gather evidence in a reliable, legal manner.
What happens in a civil investigation?
A civil investigation typically begins with analysis. A private investigator will meet with the initiator in order to discuss the goals and budget of the investigation. The investigator will then conduct their investigation utilizing a variety of investigative techniques to gather relevant evidence. Depending on the individual investigation, they may use surveillance, background checks, forensic investigation, asset searches, witness examination, and other methods. The investigator will then discuss their findings with the client and, if needed, create an official report or act as an expert witness.
The following are all types of civil cases:
- Personal injury investigations: These investigations look into how an injury occurred in order to determine potential compensation.
- Worker’s compensation investigations: The goal of worker’s comp investigations is to uncover and prevent insurance fraud.
- Missing person investigations: Investigators conduct a missing persons investigation to uncover information about people who are missing.
- Child custody and abuse investigations: This type of investigation reveals the potential negligence and mistreatment of children.
- Marital investigations: Investigations into marital disputes can uncover anything from domestic abuse to a cheating spouse.
What kind of evidence does a civil investigator look for?
- Financial documents (checks, bank statements, etc.)
- Computer and cell phone activity (emails, texts, GPS, etc.)
- Statements from friends, family, and colleagues
- Business and public records
- Physical evidence
Do you need a civil investigation?
If you are going to be involved in a court case, a civil investigation may be essential. Unbiased proof can be the determining factor in any case. A private investigator can acquire this evidence in a professional and legal way.