Can a disability insurance company conduct video surveillance of a claimant whenever and wherever they want?
Can these disability insurance companies do a video surveillance of a person when they feel like it or where they feel like it?
The answer is, they can do video surveillance, absolutely, they can do it as part of their investigation into your claim. Now, there’s obviously certain places they can’t do it. They just can’t come into your home and do video surveillance there or come into your business and do video surveillance there without you knowing it and that would surely have some invasion of privacy rights there. But if you are out in the general public, they can definitely get you on camera.
And, I think usually they are obviously going to do it secretively?
They try. I know I had a case where this insurance carrier has contracted these investigators as they are usually not in-house people and employees of the company. They go out to private investigators who are familiar with doing disability video surveillance, so they contract them. And these two particular investigators were performing a surveillance of my client, my client went into his wife’s business for lunch with her and she happened to own a gym pilates business and all of a sudden the investigators, I think wanting to capture something not knowing what he was going in there for, really wanting capture something that was favorable to their investigation, followed him in there and started questioning his wife who was the owner of the business. This scared my clients, they got fearful, they went out and happened to see a couple of police officers. They asked them who these gentlemen were after they exited. They were still parked in the parking lot. The officer approached them and found out that they were from the insurance company and they were performing video surveillance on him.
And, was there anything illegal about what the surveillance person was doing?
There wasn’t anything necessarily illegal, because she operates a business and anyone can walk in and out of the door. They did not stay there after they shocked my clients. I don’t think there was anything illegal per say. I think it was definitely unusual because investigators are usually a little more discrete than that.
I think we all agree that they can basically do this video surveillance just about anywhere they want except for in the person’s home. It’s kind of what we discuss as reasonable expectation of privacy and you should also be aware that there has recently been a case where an attorney filed a lawsuit because the person was under video surveillance in a church. And the lawyer tried to argue – well, I was in church and no way can you come in and start surveying me in church and the court said – no, that’s a public place and any public place you are in, you can be surveyed. If you are were in your house and they somehow snuck into your house or something like that and tried to video you, that would be another story.