The short answer to this question is ‘Yes.’ If you are filmed or observed doing something that may hurt your personal injury case, some state laws allow for the submission of that surveillance to be entered into evidence. However, that doesn’t mean that your case is lost. There are ways to structure a defense even though detrimental surveillance is being used. The personal injury attorneys at Jett Accident & Injury Lawyers have some helpful insights to share.
Insurance companies, particularly in cases involving severe injuries, long recoveries, or large financial settlements, In order to avoid paying large sums to the injured, these companies will often spend thousands on investigators that will surveil you in an attempt to discredit you and your injury. That’s why it is essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer that has the experience needed to fight back against insurance companies and get you the fair compensation that you need and deserve.
What To Do To Defend Against Surveillance Video in Your Personal Injury Case
There are several things that should be done to defend against incriminating or negative surveillance. The most important first step is to contact a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with personal injury laws and deals with insurance companies and investigators. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side could be the difference between fair compensation for your injuries and having your case denied.
Go through the entire surveillance with your attorney.
Chances are, you have been watched for quite some time, so video can be lengthy. Most of the videos will be boring and have no bearing on your case. However, watching the film in its entirety with your attorney does two things: It allows your lawyer to ask questions and possibly look at the video with a fresh set of eyes. They may notice things that you may not since you are so close to the situation. Secondly, you will be able to offer explanations on any video that may be considered damning to your case, knowing the circumstances that occurred at the time of the surveillance.
Because the surveillance is so long, most likely an edited version is being submitted to the court. Your lawyer will ask for the complete unedited version of the surveillance. This is to ensure that the snippet that is being used against you is not taken out of context. At this time, an expert in surveillance video may be hired. The expert verifies the validity of the video, the date and time stamp, and can spot any inconsistencies in the recording.
Medical experts should not view the surveillance before it is validated.
With severe injuries, you probably have seen team of medical professionals who have offered their diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plans. If a doctor or other medical experts views surveillance before it is validated and put into context, this may cause them to alter their opinion or even change the diagnosis of your injuries. Your attorney will prevent the medical experts to view the video prematurely so that they will have the entire picture.
The surveillance may not be admissible.
There are a couple of ways to claim that the surveillance video isn’t admissible. If the evidence was provided late or was gained through privacy violations, you may be able to argue that the video is inadmissible. These circumstances may be more difficult to prove unless the surveillance was not presented until near the end of the trial.
There are other types of surveillance.
Just because an investigator isn’t sitting outside your house watching every move you make, does not mean that you are not being watched. Social media accounts are often trolled for photos or comments that elude to you doing something that you claim you cannot do because of your injuries. Practice caution and restraint with public postings.
Surveillance can work for you or against you.
It works both ways. Just like surveillance might be used to help prove up your case in a personal injury claim… it can also do the opposite and clear the accused’s name. The criminal defense attorneys at Chaput Law have seen firsthand how a photo or video surveillance can make or break a criminal case.
What You Should Do If You Want To Avoid Personal Injury Surveillance
Even if you are unaware of any surveillance for your personal injury case, you should always be mindful that insurance companies will do what they can to avoid paying out large injury compensation awards. Be mindful and always follow the instructions of the medical professionals who are treating you.
Even if you are feeling great, do not do things that could aggravate your injury or jeopardize your recovery. Surveillance may be unavoidable, but special care should be taken to not misrepresent the severity of your injuries. Do not speak with anyone from the insurance company or to any medical professionals that you may be unfamiliar with. Refer them to your personal injury attorney if they have questions.
You’ve been injured and deserved to be compensated for injuries that were no fault of your own. It is important to know that you could be watched and that it is perfectly legal in some states. Hiring a personal injury attorney with experience in disputing surveillance video is essential to your case.