Private investigation is the practice of private (non-government, typically for-profit) individuals or businesses conducting covert information-gathering on behalf of a paying client. Private investigators typically attend some type of private investigator school, in order to gain the skills necessary to become a private investigator, and the licenses that may be required by your state.

Private investigators use a wide range of techniques, and investigate a variety of issues. They are perhaps most often hired in family law cases, to investigate if adultery has occurred, or to investigate the living conditions of one of the parents of a child, which might be relevant in a custody or visitation dispute.

Private investigators are also hired out of private investigator school by insurance companies who suspect that people might be faking injuries to collect worker’s compensation benefits. They usually confront the fraudsters with covertly-recorded video of them engaged in physical activity that would be impossible if they actually suffered the injuries they claim.

What Are Some Legal Issues Surrounding Private Investigators?

First, and most importantly, you must always remember this: private investigators are not police officers. While private investigator school might teach someone many of the same skills that would be useful for a police officer, private investigators enjoy none of the legal privileges afforded to police officers.

First of all, private investigators cannot arrest anyone. Their job is to gather information for their clients, not to enforce the law. Secondly, if a police officer accidentally causes an injury to a suspect during a chase or arrest, it is very difficult to sue them personally for the injuries, thanks to the many legal protections police officers enjoy. If a private investigator causes an injury to someone else in the course of their work, the law will treat them like any other private citizen. In many states, private investigation is a heavily-regulated industry, and many private investigators are required to obtain and renew a license. Often, attending a recognized private investigator school is part of the process.

What Types of Private Investigator Careers Are Available?

Private investigators are employed by a wide variety of individuals and organizations. Many graduates of private investigator school go into business for themselves, and can make successful careers out of it. Others choose to go in-house, working for insurance companies and other businesses.