ERISA Lawyer on Surveillance

A lot of people call and say – what am I supposed to do, sit home all day? I can’t live a life, I can’t do any activities because they will put me on video. Can I go to the gym, can I go grocery shopping? And there is a quote here from a recent case, the California Federal court, and it says – "the court has repeatedly asserted that the mere fact that a claimant has carried on certain daily activities does not detract in any way her credibility as to her overall disability. One does not need to be utterly incapacitated in order to be disabled." So I think it is really important for people to understand that you can go about living your life, do somewhat normal things, you don’t have to be bed ridden in order to collect disability. You should not live in fear that disability carriers will see you on video because just because they see you outside does not mean benefits are going to be cut off.

Although by law the surveillance team is required to obtain neighbors' permission to watch you if they must go onto adjoining private property, they frequently do not. Always be aware of following cars or persons sitting in cars near your home or property. Some surveillance teams notify the local police of their surveillance activity to avoid police response and intervention, if spotted. The average time frame for surveillance is 3-5 days, which may cost the insurance company $2,000-$5,000. In addition to the CD/DVD provided to the claims adjuster, an hour-by-hour written report is also sent as a permanent part of your disability claim. Most surveillance teams will notify the claims adjuster by phone and discuss an initial report before and after the actual DVD arrives.

But I definitely think that they should be cautioned just because the insurance companies will do video surveillance, be cautioned not to exaggerate their symptoms just because they may think that it may get them a favorable result.

It’s almost like your Miranda rights. What you say can and will be used against you. What you hold out to the insurance company, you better believe they can use it against you or they are going to use it against you.

I always tell each of my client that it is very important to never do anything more than the restrictions your doctor gives you. It only takes one minute of film from the company hired for surveillance by the insurance company to hurt your case. I warn every client about surveillance. All to often, people do not listen. They are filmed carrying something heavy, running, or in the mall shopping carrying heavy bags. It could be simple yard work. If you claim you are injured then let other people help you with your day to day activities that you claim you can not do.

What should you do when an investigator shows up in your driveway with a tape? Ask for a copy of the tape. Do not speak with the investigator about the tape or any questions the investigator may ask you. Next, call an experienced ERISA disability insurance attorney. As an experienced ERISA disability insurance attorney I know the strategies used by private investigators to build the insurance companies case.

If you are being videotaped, call an experienced ERISA Long-Term Disability attorney at Allan W. Ben P.C., our phone number nationwide is 1-866-540-0677. If you've been presented with a videotape and a surveillance log and the insurance company is delaying your benefit payments, call our experienced ERISA Long-Term Disability attorneys.