Can Insurance Companies Use Surveillance Videos In Legal Cases?

Surveillance videos are used by insurance companies in personal injury lawsuits where the plaintiff has sustained big injuries. They send out an investigator with a video camera who is instructed to follow the plaintiff around in his or her daily activities for a few days. The investigator never reveals themselves, and may be several blocks away with a zoom camera or parked across the street from the plaintiff’s home in a windowless van. The plaintiff, therefore, never knows when he may be under surveillance.

Surveillance is legal. It isn’t an invasion of privacy even though someone is sneaking around taking pictures of you without your permission. When a person files a lawsuit, they are subject to the insurance company investigating them and their injuries – including video surveillance. There are exceptions, however. The insurance company investigator may not trespass on your property or physically abuse you. Having said that, I have had clients report surveillance people coming onto their porch and peeking through their windows.

Personal Injury Plaintiffs Caught On Camera

Insurance companies sometimes catch plaintiffs who are lying about their injuries. The plaintiff may say in a deposition that he is unable to lift anything over ten pounds, and then a video is presented at trial showing him doing his chores around town lifting extremely heavy objects. I have never had a surveillance of one of my clients showing them performing activity which was in excess of what they testified they could perform. That doesn’t mean that the insurance company won’t use the surveillance video. The normal surveillance video will show someone getting in and out of their car, going to the store, and performing the normal tasks that an injured person can do. But when the video is shown, for some reason it usually looks sinister. Just filming someone conveys the notion that they are sneaking around doing something wrong. A recent video of one of my clients showed them smoking a cigarette on their driveway, but when you look at the video, it appears that they’re trying to hide the fact that they’re smoking, like back in high school.

My Legal Strategy With Surveillance Videos In The Courtroom

I tried to use the surveillance video to strengthen my case. I explained to the jury that the defense followed my client around for five days in an attempt to find him doing strenuous activity, but all they got is video showing him engaged in the normal activities of life.

The use of surveillance videos is just another ploy by insurance companies to attack the injured plaintiff when they file a lawsuit.

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