Surveillance Evidence in Personal Injury Claims
It is becoming increasingly common in personal injury claims, particularly higher value personal injury claims, for defendant insurance companies and their solicitors to take video footage of injured people in the hope of catching them out, perhaps proving the claim was fraudulent or exaggerated.
It is of course true that some claims are fraudulent and/or exaggerated and when this has been found to be the case the wrongdoer has been forced to pay back their compensation to the insurance company, which is only fair. Also, where a judge finds a claim is dishonest, which can include exaggerated, the case will be thrown out and the claimant will have to pay all of the legal costs of the case.
Please note these findings are rare and there must be clear evidence of dishonest conduct. To date, we have never had a client who has fallen into that situation.
There is however a shady practice emerging amongst defendant insurance company solicitors of taking a large amount of surveillance footage and then deleting the parts that support the claimant’s case i.e. the parts which confirm they are in fact suffering with their injuries.
Normally, if someone destroys evidence, the court is supposed to rule that the evidence most likely harmed the case of the person who destroyed it, which is sensible for why else would they destroy the evidence?
The tricky aspect however of dealing with these insurance company solicitors is that they will not admit the evidence existed. They are now however being caught out; claimant solicitors have begun to request the memory cards of the surveillance device used as discarding a memory card is not a normal thing to do. One large national firm of insurance company solicitors, who we will not name for professional reasons, have been implicated now in numerous instances of such memory cards being “lost”. Claimant solicitors however have refused to let the issue rest and as such one of the senior partners of the firm in question is now being required to attend numerous court hearings to explain why yet another memory card has been “lost”.
So what can injured people do to avoid being misrepresented? All that really can be done is to be 100% honest throughout the entire case; if selective footage is produced and the other evidence destroyed it will be for your solicitor to raise this with the court.
Remember, irrespective of what happens, being 100% honest and open at all times is always the safest route to proceed whether in personal injury claims or any other area of law.
Aston Knight Solicitors specialise in serious injuries including clinical negligence and fatality matters; please feel free to contact us at any time for a free and confidential initial consultation.