Private Investigator Terminology

Some private investigators have a colorful way of describing their secretive efforts to watch claimants in workers’ compensation cases. Here are some slang phrases used by longtime private investigator’s


  • Getting burned:
    • When a claimant under surveillance figures out he is being watched.
  • The look:
    • The distinctive way a claimant stares at an investigator after spotting the surveillance. This is proof the investigator has been burned.
  • Being dry cleaned:
    • How a suspicious claimant drives to try to determine if he is being followed. The claimant, for instance, may make several right turns. An investigator who is being dry cleaned should break off the surveillance and come back another time.
  • Dropping them in the grease:
    • To provide damaging information to an investigator about a claimant. Sometimes, this is done unwittingly by a claimant’s neighbor.
  • Toasted:
    • When an investigator catches a claimant in activities the claimant shouldn’t be able to do because of injury.

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