Does ICBC Use Surveillance?
Yes, ICBC uses both video surveillance and cyber surveillance. It may produce this evidence in an attempt to undermine your credibility and derail your claim.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident which was not your fault, you can pursue a personal injury compensation claim. As the defence, ICBC will investigate your claim to check whether there are any fraudulent aspects. ICBC wants to know – is there any reason why you should not be awarded the full amount of compensation?
As part of this investigation, ICBC may conduct surveillance. It does not do this in every single case. Typically, the more serious the claim, the greater the chance of surveillance being ordered. In particular, plaintiffs who are claiming loss of earnings or significant disability may be placed under surveillance.
ICBC video surveillance
ICBC has been known to hire private investigators to video plaintiffs. This is perfectly legal, so long as it does not invade your privacy. This means that while an investigator cannot gain access to your home, he/she can video you in the yard, out shopping, at work or socialising with friends.
The purpose is to obtain footage of you performing tasks that you have said you cannot do. For example, if you claim you cannot lift heavy objects, it will undermine your claim if you are videoed carrying 10 bags of groceries. Similarly, if you say you cannot manage more than 5 minutes of exercise, it will look suspicious if you attend a 50 minute spin class.
ICBC cyber surveillance
ICBC still requests video surveillance. Now, however, much of their surveillance is done online by cyber analysts. These investigations focus on your online activity, including your social media accounts. Again, the intention is to uncover any misrepresentations. For instance, a recent photo of you skiing, even though you have said you cannot do any physical activity.
What should you do?
You should not worry about ICBC surveillance, so long as you are completely truthful about your injuries and they ways in which they impact your life. Often, ICBC orders surveillance, yet decides against using it because it does not aid their defence. Other times, ICBC produces surveillance evidence, but the judge finds it does not harm the plaintiff’s case.
Therefore, the best advice is to be entirely honest during the course of your claim. It also pays to have some common sense. Do not post images on social media that could damage your claim, even if there is a plausible explanation for them. You could even tighten your social media security settings.
Also, be sure to stick to doctor’s orders. If you have been told not to perform any physical activity, then don’t. Video footage can be easily manipulated by the defence to discredit your claim. It is very one-sided and does not always tell the whole story. For instance, you may have carried 10 bags of groceries, but you may then have spent the rest of the week in agony. A 30 second video clip will not reflect the bigger picture.
The final piece of advice is to instruct a personal injury lawyer who is highly experienced in ICBC claims. ICBC uses a number of tactics to disprove claims. A personal injury lawyer with the right expertise knows how to handle these tactics, and can manage your claim to ensure you receive the right amount of compensation.