If you are involved in a personal injury claim, there is always a chance that the insurance company for the responsible party is watching you. At our Fort Worth injury law firm, we tell all of our clients to conduct their life as if they are being watched at all times. The most common scenario where an insurance company is watching is where our clients are pursuing a workers' compensation claim at the same time they are pursuing an injury claim. Our experience tells us that workers' comp insurance carriers are more likely to try to spy on our clients.
They will send out sneaky investigators who will film our clients conducting their normal activities. We have had films of our clients eating at What-A-Burger. We have never understood what such a film would hope to show.
Another time, we were produced a film of our client pushing her daughter on a swing set. It is quite disturbing to our client to know that somebody was watching her swing her child.
The alleged purpose of the insurance company filming our clients would be to show that they are not as hurt as they claim to be.
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In a normal Fort Worth personal injury claim, it is uncommon for the insurance company to send out an investigator to spy on our clients. However, it does happen and will continue to happen as insurance companies are skeptical as to the legitimacy of most claims.
An injury victim should always be aware of what they were doing and make sure that they are conducting themselves consistently with what they are telling their lawyer and their doctors. The medical records note an injury victim's limitations, and the injury victim should listen to the doctor.
For instance, if the doctor tells them to not do yard work, they should not be caught doing yard work. If they are caught on film doing something against doctor’s orders - or doing something contrary to what they have testified about - then it will come back to haunt them. And it should. An injury victim should be honest about their limitations.
Finally, if you think you are being watched by an investigator or some other sneaky person, you should contact your Fort Worth lawyer immediately. There is nothing illegal about one side investigating or spying on another side. However, there are restrictions under our Texas rules which govern lawsuits which mandate that such filming should be disclosed to the other side. You do not have to be warned about it ahead of time, but any films should be turned over during the pendency of the litigation. If a lawsuit has not been filed, but it is in the claims process, there is no duty for the insurance company to turn the pictures or video over to the claimant or the claimant's lawyer.