It used to be that insurance companies would hire private investigators with their conspicuous telephoto zoom lenses attached to cameras, all the while trying to avoid detection by hiding. While those days may be gone, or limited, insurance adjusters are still collecting video surveillance of victims to use as evidence to avoid paying your claims. In today’s world with the advent of high-definition cameras in every smartphone, it has become so easy to record a person’s actions without their knowledge. Is that person just snap chatting, or are they recording me? The truth is, you wouldn’t know until it was too late.
When is video surveillance obtained?
In just about every personal injury case involving car or truck accidents, slip and fall cases, and others can use video surveillance. That is because most personal injury cases involve an insurance company who will ultimately be responsible for paying out damages to victims.
When is video or surveillance footage used?
Recorded footage collected by the insurance company can be used at any time. The insurance companies and specifically the insurance adjusters use video in their assessment of individuals claim. They may record a victim’s actions or movements after a claim to determine if the victim’s actions correspond to their claim. For example, if a victim says he or she is having difficulty using their arms after an auto accident, an insurance adjuster might try to record the victim carrying groceries or other items from their car into a home. Adjusters might also try and gather footage of the accident to determine who was at fault or if a victim was up and moving around after the accident.
Where am I being surveilled?
Insurance adjusters, as well as private investigators, must abide by federal and state laws. They cannot violate your privacy to obtain video footage. An example of violating your privacy could include peering through a window. However, adjusters and investigators can typically gather video footage in a public area or businesses open to the public. Those areas include but are not limited to parks, roadways, (vehicle and pedestrian) or your grocery store.
You have been recorded; now what?
An insurance company may use recorded footage of a victim to dispute a victim’s claims that he or she can perform certain duties or activities they stated they could not or had difficulty doing. Alternatively, they might point out inconsistencies with prior testimony giving by a victim. Video surveillance is a common tactic used by insurance companies trying to prove a victim was fabricating and/or exaggeration their injuries. The goal is to discredit the victim to achieve a more favorable result.
This is why it is crucial to discuss your case with an attorney. A personal injury lawyer can often take steps to challenge such video evidence or help to mitigate fallout from video surveillance. Personal injury lawyers often understand these tactics and others used by an insurance company to deny your claims. If you are the victim of a personal injury case, Ask a Lawyer, Ask Dave.