Will the Insurance Company Do Surveillance on You After a Personal Injury Accident?

By |2019-09-03T08:28:53-04:00September 3rd, 2019|Categories: PREMISES LIABILITY LAW, Video Series|Tags: , , , |

Will the insurance company do surveillance on you after a personal injury accident? That’s the topic of this video. I get this question a lot by my personal injury clients, whether they’re in a car accident, a truck, motorcycle or a slip and fall accident or whatever the injury may be. Uh, clients always wonder, hey, should I be worried about someone going around videotaping me? And the quick answer is no. I tell everyone, don’t worry about it. Don’t be paranoid, but be aware because it is a possibility in every case. So as far as personal injury cases go, if it’s a minor type accident, it is unlikely that an insurance company will go out and spend money on a private investigator to follow you around. At least initially. Normally an insurance company will wait until after a lawsuit is filed after your deposition is taken. And then even maybe after mediation to go out and spend the money.

And the reason is it just costs, it costs money. And if the case is not going to, uh, proceed to a trial, they try not to spend that money. It’s a, it’s a sunk cost for them. But so what happens exactly in a video surveillance and what should you be looking for a while your case is progressing, whether you filed a lawsuit or whether you just simply in the preliminary stages of treatment, what they normally do is they hire a private investigator and I say they, the insurance company in the insurance defense lawyers, they’ll hire a private investigator, but private investigator will drive to your home and park in the street outside of your door. So if you’ve got a house, there’ll be outside, uh, if it’s an apartment complex, they’ll take up a spot somewhere with ’em, with access to your, your front door, and they’ll sit there and they’ll videotape you going in and out of the house.

Now, they also may follow you, once you get in a car and you go somewhere, they’ll likely follow you and they’ll videotape you getting out of the car and doing whatever you may be doing. Uh, normally surveillance only lasts for one day, but I’ve seen it lasts a couple of days. Um, at least in more severe cases. It just really depends on how much footage they’re able to get. And what job that investigator does. Now, it’s interesting. I said earlier that most video surveillance only takes place after a lawsuit is filed. And I, and I stand by that companies like Geico, they don’t spend money upfront. The big companies they know better, but recently had Safeco insurance go out on a client who was injured, uh, his treating and he’s actually a personal trainer and they set up outside of the window of his personal trainings shop and watched him interact with clients for one whole day, just filmed right through the window of his, uh, of his shop.

Then the next day they went to his house and filmed him driving around, um, the course of the second day. So I know, for example, a company like Safeco spends the money upfront on surveillance. Now the reason why surveillance is so difficult and it’s, um, I think it’s, it’s unfair to a plaintiff, uh, especially in a personal injury cases because they really only take a snippet of your life, uh, and at trial or in the case they make it seem like, oh, you’re fine. You were able to walk to and from your car without any difficulties. Maybe you’re carrying a grocery bags or something like that. Oh look, you know, this person can’t have a back injury. They’re functioning properly. And it really, it is damaging to people’s cases when that video is shown because again, they get a glimpse, the jury gets a glimpse of what that injury client looks like.

Uh, just going around doing their day to day work. And I believe it hurts the, the value of the case. So it’s something to be cognizant of. The other unfair thing about these surveillance videos is that you’re not entitled to get the full amount of the surveillance. We just had a trial, uh, beginning of 2019 where our client was filmed again for a full day and the private investigator only provided certain clips of her walking in and out of her house carrying bags while we asked for where’s the rest of the video? They said, we don’t have it. We got rid of it. This is all that’s being produced. So we were able to cross examine, uh, the investigator on that point. Like, where does everything else, there was something else damaging that you didn’t produce. The judge wouldn’t let us, uh, but the judge, so too bad and if the video doesn’t work or you’re not entitled to the rest of the video.

We thought that was extremely unfair, but again, it just proves the point. This surveillance video can be harmful to your personal injury claim if it shows you walking around not in pain and functioning properly. However, you should not be paranoid go about your day to day work. But if you do see a car that’s parked outside your residence, um, take a look at it because it’s, it’s in your fear in the middle of a personal injury claim. It is possible that there is a video camera there and they are videotaping what you’re doing. And I’m not suggesting you start limping or, or doing anything abnormal, but just be cognizant of it and, and use common sense. So, uh, hopefully that provides some insight about video surveillance during a personal injury case. Again, this applies to all types of injuries, car accidents, motorcycles, trucks at truck accidents, a slip and falls, trip and falls. Any type of accident claim, uh, it is possible that video surveillance will be performed on you. So be aware of, and I hope this video helps

*The above has been transcribed by a third party service and has not been checked for accuracy

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