It’s common in Florida for insurance carriers to hire private investigators to follow and videotape someone who has filed a claim after suffering an injury. It happens more times than we may be aware of because they don’t always reveal the contents of the surveillance right away—or at all—if it doesn’t help them.
Insurance companies aren’t required to provide such videotape until after a lawsuit has been filed and sometimes well into the litigation. Attorneys representing insurance companies have been known to show up at a mediation conference or at a deposition with video obtained by a private investigator, hoping to take the wind out of the sails of the defending attorney and his or her client.
If video is intended to be used at trial, we can depose the investigator who took it, and we can inquire specifically about the dates and times and places in the film. It’s well known that an investigator may spend multiple days following someone.
Experienced adjusters may hire two or more videographers to follow someone. That way, if they only get what they consider to be useful video from only one investigator, they will not be forced to reveal the person was followed by one or two other investigators who captured nothing useful during their
The point of all this is to remember that if you have an injury claim in Florida, you have to assume you’ll be videotaped. In the vast majority of cases surveillance of this type isn’t significant and won’t change your case’s outcome, provided you have been forthright and honest about your injuries and limitations. So it’s really important if you have been injured in an accident to be thoughtful when describing any injury-related limitation. Being imprecise can hurt your case. And keep in mind that someone probably has been watching you.