Although there are no known statistics, probably the number one employer for surveillance companies in British Columbia is ICBC. In a relatively straightforward personal injury claim ICBC probably will not be hiring any investigation firm to follow you and get some surveillance footage. However, some adjusters live by video surveillance and will, relatively quickly after a claim, hire an investigation company. Fortunately, in today’s economic environment, ICBC adjusters are judged by their “allocated expenses” which means that they need to try to minimize the amount of expenses associated with defending any one claim. This desire of ICBC to reduce expenses has also reduced the amount of initial video surveillance.
If you have been off work for more than a few months after an accident then the chances of having video surveillance on you increases. Also, if the size of your claim increases over time and your file becomes rated by ICBC as a “high complexity” file, the chances of ICBC hiring a video surveillance company to follow you increases.
You should not be paranoid about being followed by a video surveillance team but you should be somewhat observant when it comes to video surveillance. For example, if you see a van parked down the street for several hours with a fellow in it, chances are that may be one of ICBC’s investigators. If you see a vehicle following you then the same suspicion should be raised.
Unfortunately, video surveillance is legal in British Columbia. ICBC has imposed certain policies limiting video surveillance but those policies certainly do not exclude the invasion of your privacy. Some of the restrictions imposed by ICBC on the surveillance companies is that the video surveillance should not be done while you are in your home or you are nearby to such places as playgrounds where young children frequent.
ICBC video surveillance is only effective where you are telling ICBC or the doctors/therapists that you are unable to do certain activities yet you are caught doing the activity on videotape. Also, video surveillance is helpful to ICBC if it shows you lifting heavy items, doing vigorous activities, playing sports or generally looking uninjured.
Because of the risk of video surveillance being used in your case, there is no real value to you overstating the extent of your injuries and your limitations from the injuries. If ICBC catches you in a lie by showing videotape of you doing certain activities which you are denying, then this lie compromises the validity of your entire claim. Exaggeration is not a good thing to do.
In summary, ICBC, in more significant claims, will often use video surveillance as a form of defense tool to hopefully show you doing a certain activity, which you are denying doing to ICBC or the doctors/ therapists. It is therefore important not to exaggerate your claim on the off chance that ICBC has been invading your privacy and has run video surveillance of you.
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