Insurance companies have increasingly relied on personal surveillance to help them defeat plaintiffs’ personal injury claims. In the last few years, I have seen an increasing aggressiveness in insurance companies who engage in surveillance once they have become aware of a possible claim. It is not illegal for insurance companies to engage in this type of activity, whether it be videotaping, audio recording, or taking pictures of an injured person any time they are engaging in a public activity, such as going out to eat or going for a walk.
I have seen many cases in which clients pick up grocery bags or large boxes from their cars, only to have an insurance company record those activities and use the recordings against them in court. The more serious the nature of the injury claim, and the higher the exposure for the insurance company, the more likely it is that the insurance company will hire an investigator to surveil a plaintiff.
I have also represented victims who have been injured in construction accidents where there were no issues of insurance coverage, and the potential exposure was huge. It is very easy for a videographer to selectively record a victim lifting boxes, but then not showing them putting the boxes down and taking a couple of steps later, grimacing in pain. Again, this type of surveillance can be used against you in court.
Additionally, insurance companies also monitor plaintiffs’ social media accounts. Photographs of your vacation involving physical activities could seriously harm your case: photo albums of your vacation in faraway places (which implies a long flight) can be used against you in court. You must therefore act appropriately online.