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June 6, 2019

What Is Surveillance?

Surveillance is a tool used by insurance companies to assess the validity of disability claims. Accordingly, if you’ve recently filed a claim for disability benefits, there’s a chance your insurer could conduct surveillance on your activities. Additionally, although your insurance carrier will ultimately vouch for this tool as an independent means to corroborate your reported injuries, surveillance may feel like more of an effort to attack your credibility or search around for evidence to deny your claim. In most cases, this surveillance will take the form of a private investigator – hired by the insurance company – to monitor your various activities throughout the day. For example, if you leave your home to garden, talk to your neighbor, walk your dog, or drive to the grocery store the investigator surveilling you is legally allowed to record you performing these activities. It is important to note that although it may seem like these investigators are able to surveil you in almost any setting, they are not allowed to look through your windows, knock on your door, peer over your fence, or enter your home.

In addition to a private investigator, other forms of surveillance include:

  • Internet/online activity – including your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages

  • Audio recordings

  • Photographs

Why Is Surveillance Used?

Simply put, surveillance is used to verify the information you and your doctors are reporting. If there is any doubt regarding your credibility, the insurance company may choose to surveil you to verify the extent of your injuries. In other words, your insurance company wants to know whether you are actually unable to perform the duties of your “own occupation” or “any occupation.” Surveillance is typically most effective in cases where the claimant has physical injuries that can be easily observed. For example, if a claimant is reporting severe functional limitations that are affecting their everyday tasks, it would greatly undermine his or her case if an investigator recorded them performing major home renovations or going to the gym. Although investigators can easily assess the extent of a claimant’s physical injuries, surveillance is also useful in mental health cases where claimants report being unable to leave their house, socialize with others, or handle large crowds.

What if My Benefits Are Terminated Because of Surveillance?

If you believe your disability claim has been denied due to surveillance footage, it is important to contact an experienced disability attorney to provide you with support and assistance. The skilled attorneys at Murray Law Office will fight on your behalf and help you secure the disability benefits you rightfully deserve. Call Murray Law Office or contact us online for a free consultation.