Surveillance, Cyber Searches and Social Media
Most personal injury lawyers will warn you to close down your social media accounts, or limit access, once you commence your personal injury claim. While such advice is not misguided, it generally only applies to select claims: those involving alleged catastrophic losses or those involving litigants who appear to be untruthful.
The reality is that insurers do oftentimes hire surveillance teams to monitor the day to day activities of individuals with personal injury claims. These individuals will often follow litigants as they complete everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, driving, or going to the gym.
In addition, most insurers have internal or external teams to conduct what are known as “cyber searches”. These searches compile all of a litigant’s social media information, as well as additional information (such as land title searches and previous lawsuits) into a tidy package for the defence.
While the above appears to be a complete invasion of privacy, it is commonly used and permitted by the Courts. Again, however, it tends to only be collected, or used, when a case is catastrophic or where there are serious concerns about a claim.
For instance, if you are involved in a minor motor vehicle accident but tell your doctor that you can no longer walk, be assured that surveillance may be placed on you.
Surveillance and cyber searches only become useful to the defence if you are caught misrepresenting the extent of your injuries. In the above example, if surveillance or cyber searches show you running a marathon, you can bet that the evidence will be introduced at trial to harm your case.
It is recognized that social media is an important part of most people’s lives, and helps keep them connected with friends and family. When commencing a personal injury claim, it is important to discuss the extent of your social media use to determine whether any restrictions need to be put into place in your specific case.
For a free consultation about your personal injury claim, contact Heath Law LLP.