ARE YOU BEING WATCHED?

After a car crash, you may be suffering a great deal of pain and limitations in your day to day activities.  And if the other driver is at fault, you understandably want to be compensated for that by his insurance company.  Typically, your post accident medical treatment will demonstrate the degree and persistence of your physical problems.  Also, once the claim is in suit, you will have a full opportunity to detail under oath in a pretrial deposition how the crash impacts your life and precludes or limits your normal activities.  For example, you may state that you are unable to take out the household trash to the curb.  But you need to walk the walk.

As stated in a prior blog (https://www.whelan-law.com/how-social-media-can-kill-your-accident-case/), you should not be posting anything on social media during the pendency of your claim which you tend to show that you may not be as injured as you say. Bungee jumping on your trip to Cabo is clearly inconsistent with any claim of permanent injury.

On a different note, you may not consider that the insurance company which you expect to compensate you may be conducting surveillance on you.  That may not be limited to a private investigator following you on foot or by car.  It is also possible that a drone could be used, or some kind of hidden video recording station near your home.

Under New Jersey personal injury case law, surveillance videos and photos are admissible in your court case to show that you are not as injured as you claim.  We always warn our clients about that possibility and to act accordingly.  Generally, you cannot expect an insurance company to pay you a large settlement for a permanent and serious injury if you are seen lifting a sofa into a moving van for example.

Further, in case involving a New Jersey automobile crash, once the insurance company notifies your attorney that it has conducted surveillance on you, you are not permitted to see the photos or videos until after you submit to a deposition during which the attorney for the other driver/insurance company can ask you questions about your activities around the time of the surveillance and as depicted in the surveillance.  This can be particularly problematic if you have previously given a deposition in the same case in which you testified that you cannot get out of bed in the morning, but later you are photographed by a private investigator at the gym lifting heavy weights.  Understand that the insurance company uses many methods to defend cases and to reduce the cost of settlements and court verdicts.

In sum, if you have a New Jersey personal injury claim, you should conform your behavior consistently with the nature of your injury complaints so that you are not embarrassed or surprised.  Because someone may always be watching you!

Somerset Office

220 Davidson Ave #300, Somerset, NJ 08873

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Charles D. Whelan III has been committed to excellence for over 30 years. With offices located centrally in New Jersey, he is able to provide businesses and individuals with excellent legal services.

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475 Watchung Ave, Watchung, NJ 07069

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