LEGAL CORNER: Surveillance evidence in personal injury claims

Insurance companies regularly have claimants followed by private detectives to ascertain whether or not they have been telling the truth about their injuries.

In one case recently a static camera was placed outside my client’s house for two weeks.

Unfortunately it is people who cheat that have brought this about. If you say in your claim that you are unable to work because of your injuries and are filmed working then you will pay the consequences.

If a judge finds your claim to have involved an element that has been fundamentally dishonest you will likely be ordered to pay all of the insurance company’s costs for the whole case.

Sadly there have been cases where people have said they were injured in a car accident but it has subsequently been proved that there had actually been no contact between the vehicles. In others people have staged accidents themselves so that they can make a claim.

Insurance companies have to scrutinise the evidence very closely to weed out the cheats.

It is not always clear cut however. A piece of footage won’t show what pain you are in, or the fact that you may have gone out and done something, but when you are back inside your house you have had to go and rest to recoup.

If your claim is genuine you need not worry

When a bundle of DVD evidence drops on a solicitor’s desk with a thud it always makes you feel uneasy. Has your client lied to you or the defendant insurance company? What are you going to see?

Claimants should be careful and considered about what they say so that misunderstandings do not occur.

Don’t say you can’t do something if what you really mean is you avoid doing this activity because it makes your symptoms worse, but that you could do it for a time if you had to. You could be filmed doing it.

If you have given evidence in your case that you can’t stand for more than 10 minutes but you are shown standing for longer in the footage it can get very awkward for you.

In our experience the great majority of claimants have suffered as a result of what has happened to them. The scrutiny that they are placed under can feel unpleasant. However, as long as you are open and considered about what you say you have nothing to fear.

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By Claire Watson

Partner

Head of Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence

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George Ide, LLP

Solicitors of Chichester and Bognor Regis

Telephone 01243 786668

Email: observer@georgeide.co.uk