In some cases, but not all, ICBC uses hidden video surveillance or private investigators. The purpose of the video surveillance is to attempt to undermine your credibility. The goal is to catch you doing something which you already said you cannot do – i.e. in a statement to ICBC, in notes from your family physician or other treating medical professionals, or at an examination for discovery (a step in the legal proceedings before trial where ICBC’s personal injury lawyers are permitted to ask questions of crash victims while they are under oath).
For example, a crash victim may say at an examination for discovery, or to his or her family physician, that before the car crash he or she could run 3 miles a day. Now, because of the injuries in the crash they cannot run at all. If ICBC has a videotape of the crash victim running three miles when he or she said they could not, then obviously ICBC has evidence that undermines the crash victim’s credibility.
Similarly, ICBC may hire a private investigator to follow and observe the crash victim (with or without video recording) and interview potential witnesses such as neighbors, work colleagues, and sports team colleagues in an effort to get statements from those witnesses that say the crash victim is more active than what the crash victim has been saying to his or her medical practitioners or in statements to ICBC .
At Hoogbruin & Company we have simple advice for our clients – always tell the truth (which by far most crash victims always do) and do not worry about surveillance or private investigators.
By always telling the truth to your medical practitioners, in statements to ICBC, at an examination for discovery and at trial (if the case does not settle), there will never be a contradiction between those statements and surveillance tapes. The surveillance tapes will be useless.
The second bit of advice offered by Hoogbruin & Company, to “not worry about surveillance or private investigators”, is probably harder to follow. Often when there is surveillance the crash victim discovers that it is happening even though ICBC’s investigator is trying to do it surreptitiously. The crash victim, understandably, feels a strong sense of violation and an invasion of privacy. The same feelings arise if friends and coworkers tell the crash victim that ICBC’s private investigators have been attempting to interview them.
At Hoogbruin & Company our advice, always, is try to live your life as best you can. Live your life as though the ICBC claim and the litigation are not happening. You are paying your personal injury lawyer to worry about these things for you. Your job is to follow the advice of your medical professionals and to try recovering as quickly as possible so that you can get back to your normal life. Let your personal injury lawyer worry about ICBC and the litigation.