Hurt in an Accident? Beware: You Might Be Under Surveillance
Sep 19, 2018 - Personal Injury
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional acts of another party, then you may be entitled to compensation under Pennsylvania law. It’s important to point out, however, that injury lawsuits do not typically proceed in an obvious or straightforward manner. Depending on the circumstances of your injury and the particularities of your claim, the defendant may conduct surveillance and attempt to undermine your claims by gathering evidence that is inconsistent with your claims.
Though surveillance tactics are most commonly associated with disability claims, defendants in personal injury lawsuits have a right to conduct surveillance. In Pennsylvania, surveillance video and related evidence is deemed relevant and may be introduced into evidence pursuant to discovery — as such, injured plaintiffs must exercise great care to prior to litigation to ensure that the strength of their claims are preserved.
How Surveillance Can Impact Your Injury Lawsuit
Surveillance can have a significant and negative impact on your ability to secure damages in a personal injury lawsuit, if you’re not careful. What many plaintiffs do not realize is that — even if you have a legitimate claim, and you are not exaggerating your injuries — the defendant can misconstrue supposed “inconsistencies” and create substantial doubt in the minds of the jury with regard to the seriousness of your injury.
Let’s clarify with a quick example.
Suppose that you are injured in a car accident involving another negligent driver. Due to the accident, you sustain a serious neck and back injury that causes extreme stiffness, physical impairment, and pain. You bring a lawsuit against the defendant-driver for damages. The defendant then introduces evidence of photos you posted on your social media profiles in which you were engaged in a sporting contest with friends. The defendant asserts that these photos are proof that you are not actually injured to the degree that you are attempting to claim.
Now, this is precisely the sort of situation where surveillance evidence is often used to undermine a legitimate injury claim.
Though it may — on the surface — seem as though you are exaggerating the injury, the reality may be more nuanced. Perhaps your injury is not “constant.” The symptoms of your injury may only express sometimes. Some days you may be feeling quite well, physically-speaking, and therefore capable of engaging in a brief sporting contest. Though this is perfectly reasonable, the jury may find such evidence confusing. The doubt created by these images is enough to weaken your lawsuit. As such, it’s best to simply refrain from posting anything relating to your physical status, and to consult your attorney about the activities you engage in publicly.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Stroudsburg Personal Injury Attorney
Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC was founded in 1985, and since that time, our attorneys have represented numerous plaintiffs in a range of personal injury disputes, from motor vehicle accident scenarios to dog bite scenarios, and more.
We are committed to the provision of comprehensive, tenacious legal advocacy. Unlike many other personal injury firms, we are willing and able to take a case to trial. This aggressive approach to litigation ensures that we have substantial leverage during early negotiations with opposing counsel.
Call (215) 348-2088 or submit an online case evaluation to arrange a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Stroudsburg personal injury attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC today.