Last month, in our post called, ‘Are You Being Watched?’ we outlined the legalities of Defendant Insurance companies using surveillance when investigating a claim, if you haven’t read that post, you can read it here.
Now, in the second part of this series, we are discussing a few things you can do to help prevent negative consequences of surveillance.
Tips to prevent negative consequences of surveillance:
When an insurance company conducts surveillance, it is because they want to catch you doing something that they think will contradict your version of your limitations. For example, if you say that you have problems with mobility and need a walker, but they have a video of you turning cartwheels with your kids on your front lawn after the date of your accident/disability, they will argue that:
1. You are obviously not very injured/disabled, and
2. A judge shouldn’t trust what you have to say, because there is evidence that your version of events may not be truthful or accurate.
There are several things you can do to combat this risk.
First, always be truthful with your treatment providers, your lawyer, and in your discovery evidence. This doesn’t mean you should downplay your difficulties – far from it. We encourage our clients to be open about the full extent of their injuries and challenges. However, be careful about using absolute language, especially in a discovery examination. For example, is it true that you can “never” bend down to pick something up? Unless you have suffered a catastrophic injury, more likely your restriction is something that you can rarely do, or that you can only do with pain and difficulty. The bottom line is that if you are as honest and consistent as possible about your situation, then surveillance footage will not be able to contradict what you and your records say.
If you think someone is following you, try to keep calm and go about your business. It is fine to acknowledge a private investigator and even to say hello, as long as you are polite. If you start cursing, threatening, or otherwise acting in an agitated manner, you just create more ammunition for the insurance company.
Stay socially responsible
Think twice about what you post on social media. You don’t need to delete your account, or even make it private, but consider how your content will look to a stranger who doesn’t know you. We often put forward the best versions of ourselves on Facebook or Instagram, and none of the difficult day to day of our lives, and this can create an unrealistic picture. Be aware that when someone looks at your vacation photos, they just see the smiles and sunshine. They don’t see pain you felt after from pushing yourself that day, or the daily struggles and stresses of every other week of the year.
Finally, live your life! Don’t let the possibility of occasional surveillance turn you into a recluse. Again, if you are honest about your condition, then you have nothing to fear from a few video clips of you going about your business. For a maximal recovery, it is important that you continue to live your life to the full extent possible, as you would with or without anyone watching.