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What Does a Private Investigator Actually Do?

What Does a Private Investigator Actually Do?

Did you know that nearly 600,000 people are reported as missing each year? That statistic includes kidnappings, fugitives, runaways, and more.

While that is a large number, thankfully, a majority of cases get resolved quickly. Part of the quick resolution is due in part to the help of private investigation.

For example, law enforcement officials are unable to begin their search for a missing person until 24 hours have passed. A private investigator, however, does not have to abide by a 24-hour rule. They can begin looking for the missing person immediately while using a specific, hired skillset.

Private investigators play a vital role in helping solve not only missing person cases, but they assist lawyers with workers’ compensation claims, families locked in a custody battle, and a variety of other matters.

Let’s Investigate

As mentioned previously, private investigators are hired for any number of reasons. They take cases either civil or criminal, and their investigations can span domestically and internationally.

In this article, we’ll explore six circumstances in which private investigators provide their services, as well as explain when it’s helpful for an attorney to hire a private investigator.

Background Checks

Let’s start with the most common reason: background checks.

Background checks are used for any number of reasons ranging from tenant history to pre-employment due diligence. They are utilized to confirm a person’s professional or personal history.

Background checks are common and are generally an essential part of the hiring process for most employers or landlords. Depending on the reason, the check itself can be broad or narrow. Criminal records, references, employment history and the like are all requested checks that can be made.

By completing a thorough check on the person or business in question, whether it be of criminal or civil nature, the information garnered will be able to verify the person or business is who they’re claiming to be.

Missing Persons

Thousands of people go missing in the United States every year. Local and national law enforcement are often overburdened. They lack the necessary resources required to complete a missing persons case.

Private investigators are able to bring such cases to a close via in-depth investigations.

Whether it’s through conducting interviews to find a biological parent or a childhood friend or following up on leads to cold cases, investigators are able to utilize their skillset and in-depth knowledge to get the job done.


These investigations come about when a spouse has suspicions their partner may be cheating.

A private investigator discreetly gathers evidence which can then be used in a court setting. Intuition may make a strong case, but someone with a private investigator license will be able to solve the case through evidence gathering and surveillance.

Family Law

Family law is a fairly broad practice, encompassing anything from adoption to emancipation, or paternity to child custody.

Some of the most difficult civil cases in the United States legal system are child custody cases. They’re expensive and emotionally taxing for all parties involved.

Hiring a private investigator to assist with a case such as a child custody battle can make all the difference. They are able to collect evidence to then bring it to a judge in court.

Hiring this kind of help can make all the difference in a legal setting and be a huge asset to the outcome of your case.

Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission received 1.4 million identity theft reports last year alone. The issue of identity theft is so far-reaching, there’s an entire week dedicated to bringing awareness to it in February each year.

There are different types of identity theft that contribute to that statistic: financial, medical, and child identity theft to name a few.

Because of the large number of thefts that occur each year, it can be crucial to the success of your case to hire a private investigator. They can track down the individual that stole your personal information and provide potential advice to prevent it from happening a second time.

Personal Injury

Another instance in which hiring a private investigator is extremely beneficial is for a personal injury claim.

The in-depth work they can provide on a claim is second to none. Have you been a victim of a recent car accident at no fault of your own? Having a PI on the case can ensure you receive all the facts.

They’re able to track down witnesses, ask the right questions, and obtain critical, physical evidence such as video or photographs.

Necessary Evidence

After reading through the various types of cases investigators go through, you may be wondering, how do they complete their work?

Private investigators work with law enforcement officials by utilizing private databases and social media channels to track down necessary information. They conduct interviews with associated colleagues or neighbors. Video surveillance, as well as photographs, can be utilized in a court setting as part of surveillance techniques as well.

The job of a private investigator is an in-depth one. They provide an indelible service to lawyers, law enforcement, and citizens alike.

Clues for Your Own Private Investigator

Private investigators are experts at gathering crucial information to help your case. You may be wondering how much is a private investigator going to cost in my case? There’s no hard and fast amount as it depends on the location, services needed, and complexity of the job itself.

You may also wonder: is there a private investigator near me? There are plentiful online resources to find one. Unsure where to start? Make sure to look through our Lifestyle section for more information.

The missing link to winning your case may just be the addition of a private investigator.

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