Indisputable Proof Against Your Personal Injury Claim?
Compelling proof is an essential element of any personal injury claim. Surveillance videos are one of the most powerful tools that insurance companies have at their disposal. Such evidence is capable of influencing pre-trial negotiations, courtroom verdicts, and even jury decisions.
Anyone initiating a personal injury claim should be prepared to be the target of covert video surveillance. Carrying out investigation through video surveillance is one of the most common approaches used by defense insurers to influence the results of personal injury claims.
Modern technology has now, more than ever, made the action of secretly recording individuals simpler. Video surveillance is frequently carried out by a private investigator(s) that are well trained to record individuals and go unnoticed. There are, however, some rules that private investigators have to follow when hired. In Ontario, for instance, private investigators are bound by rules set by the Security and Investigative Services Act.
If lawfully gathered, video evidence can be used in court. Video surveillance is often used at personal injury claim trials as proof of the claimant’s misrepresentation of damages or even as attacks against the integrity of the claimant. Given that surveillance videos can have a great impact on the claimant’s credibility and compensation amount, insurance providers will readily pay the high charges associated with this particular approach.
Function of covert video surveillance in personal injury claim defense:
- Discredit the claimant’s personal injury claim. Video surveillance can be used to show exaggeration in the damages caused by the accident.
- Destroy the credibility of the claimant in hopes that the court or jury will refute the personal injury claim of the claimant.
- Reduce the settlement value of the claimant’s case in courtroom of even pre-trial proceedings.
From the above, it is clear that the opposing counsel can use video surveillance footage to their own advantage. Video surveillance-proof can adversely impact your personal injury claim if any suspicious activity is captured on the tapes.
On the other hand, you can also use the surveillance footage to your own advantage. With regards to video surveillance, the role your personal injury lawyer (if you are the claimant) will be to advise you of the likelihood of surveillance and encourage you to give consistent, factual, and non-exaggerated statements about your injuries and abilities. Simply put, it is the responsibility of your personal injury lawyer to:
- Determine and defend your credibility to the best of their ability;
- Ensure that the video surveillance proof presented was lawfully collected and that there was no violation of privacy laws. Your personal injury lawyer should aim to discredit the objective view of view of surveillance;
- Properly analyze the video footage. In case the video proof seems to be less than compelling, then your personal injury lawyer might play to the sympathies of the jury and place stress on the extraordinary efforts that the defense and insurance providers have put in just to abandon their financial responsibilities; and
- Request to receive the full and unedited version of the video footage to determine the circumstances or context involved in case the surveillance video has been used against you in the trial. Intermittent recordings and poor quality video ought to be disputed.
Video surveillance-proof could either negatively or positively affect your claim based on what is contained in the footage. However, video surveillance which does not contradict the claimant’s statement, or is absolutely not relevant to the claimant’s statements in relation to the injuries caused by the accident ought to be inadmissible. Additionally, the admissibility of video surveillance proof should also be challenged if it does not show the claimant carrying out activities pain-free. The impact that surveillance videos can have on your personal injury claim is one thing that should not be overlooked.
Last Updated: 03-24-2017