It’s not unusual for the defence to hire an investigator to conduct video surveillance on injured plaintiffs. Such an investigation can start as early as when the defendant is put on notice of a claim being made. Part of the purpose is to confirm the extent of the injuries claimed.
The Disclosure of Surveillance Evidence
Rules do exist for the defence to disclose the existence of video surveillance, as well as certain information about the surveillance. Such information is set out in an Affidavit of Documents. The defence provides the Affidavit of Documents to the lawyer of the injured party suing for damages. This allows the parties to prepare for Examinations for Discovery and possibly a trial.
During an Examination for Discovery, counsel for injured parties will also question the defence about the existence of surveillance evidence.
When Defence Doesn’t Follow the Rules
Despite the existence of time limits, the defence may not follow the rules. For example, the defence fails to deliver an Affidavit of Documents, or particulars about the surveillance evidence are not disclosed even after repeated requests by plaintiff counsel.
Other examples include the defence introducing surveillance evidence just a few days before trial begins, and the defence failing to update the Affidavit of Documents after further surveillance occurs.
When the defence does not follow the rules regarding surveillance evidence, it could prolong the process in resolving the case. The courts do recognize that trial by ambush should not occur. Depending on the facts of the case, a judge can declare a mistrial and postpone the trial through an adjournment which gives you and your lawyer time to review the surveillance evidence.
Regardless of whether video surveillance exists, as a plaintiff in a personal injury claim, it’s important to be truthful about your injuries. Your lawyer will be in a better position to advise you on the merits of your case and better represent you.
Douglas Strelshik has been representing injured parties for over 30 years. He works with his clients to prepare them for Examinations for Discovery and trial if a settlement offer does not occur beforehand. Contact Douglas at 647.348.5422 to discuss your specific personal injury case.