What happens if a private investigator takes a video of you mowing the lawn and sends it to your insurance company? Are you in trouble? Will your benefits be cut off? Will your lawyer not want to have anything more to do with you?

These are frequent fears that individuals have when they are receiving income replacement benefits from an insurance company. It is very common for private investigators, hired by your insurance company, to follow you around and take pictures of you going about your regular activities.

This does not make you a criminal, although you may feel that you are being treated that way. Rather, it seems to be more of a routine procedure used by many insurance companies, for many individuals making claims.

This does not make it any less stressful for you. You are just one of the insurance companies cases and this is what they routinely do. It does suck though, not only for you, but also for family members that may feel frightened and intimidated.

In general, video surveillance can only make trouble for you if you are dishonest. If they catch you in a lie, and can show evidence that you lied with a video of you. This does hurt your credibility.

If you are mowing the lawn, usually for short periods of time, generally any video surveillance of this activity will not be a problem. Most people with accident related injuries are able to do activities for short periods of time, even mowing their lawn.

Your doctors and therapists should know that you do try to do these activities when you can. This way if your lawyer sends a picture to your doctors showing you mowing the lawn, your doctors will not be surprised.

In fact, your doctor may have recommended that you do as many activities as you can, again for short periods of time.

The most important thing that you can do to protect your credibility and your benefits is to be open and honest with your doctors, therapists and lawyer. Most limitations from physical injuries do not involve paralysis, but do involved limitations of endurance and stamina.

Most accident victims are able to do many activities, but only for short periods of time. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to work when you can only be active for a brief time periods.

After working with people injured in accidents for over 30 years, it is still surprising that insurers are willing to pay for surveillance of their customers. It must get very expensive. And wouldn’t that money be better spent on helping people get stronger and less disabled.

Using surveillance can increase the costs for insurers in other, sometimes very significant, ways.

For example, some people are so frightened of private investigators that they become almost housebound. As a result, they can become less active, more depressed and more disabled. This is the opposite of what everyone should want – more activity, greater physical and emotional strength and movement toward returning to work.

In my experience, the vast majority of people with injuries are honestly struggling to get better. Better funding for treatment and rehabilitation, less wasteful and destructive actions from insurers, and more support is a much better approach for accident victims and insurers.

It seems like common sense to me.

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