Have you ever wondered if the defendants have the right to hire private investigators and have you followed after you claim compensation for injuries sustained in an accident? Well, the short answer is that yes they do have that right. Nobody likes to be followed and it is entirely reasonable to feel that your privacy is being violated. Private investigators are subject to regulation in Ontario and must follow certain rules in respect of the services they provide to insurance companies and defense counsel. That is not to say that lawyers representing plaintiffs don’t hire private investigators because they do but normally for different reasons. The main reason defense lawyers and defense insurance companies hire private investigators to have followed is to prove that the injured party is not injured at all, exaggerating their injuries or not injured as seriously or the fashion claimed.
Many cases are won or lost on the credibility of the plaintiff or defendant. The use of surveillance in personal injury actions can devastate a case if it shows a injured party lying about their injuries. However, surveillance does not necessarily have to ruin a plaintiff’s case. Most people who are injured or honest and decent people and are simply seeking fair compensation for injuries they sustained as a result of the negligence of another. Honesty is the best policy. If an injured person can do certain activities but in a limited fashion or with the use of medication and tolerance of pain, then they should simply state that.
In every serious personal injury case, it is assumed that the insurance company representing the defendant will obtain surveillance of the injured person. The law does not require a defendant to provide pre-discovery particulars of the surveillance. However as part of the litigation process the parties must attend examinations for discovery and at discovery of the defendant they are required to provide particulars of any surveillance that has been conducted. It is important for the Ottawa personal injury lawyer representing your interests to ask questions of the defendant at the defendant’s examination for discovery about any surveillance obtained. The details to obtain an examination for discovery from the defendant include all of the dates and times surveillance was undertaken, the specific times of day the surveillance was undertaken and on which days, the name and contact particulars of the person(s) who conducted surveillance, and summary of all the observations. In addition, a request should be made for a copy of all videotape recordings, photos and copies of any documents relating to the surveillance which will likely be objected to but the request should be made nevertheless. In some cases, defense counsel refuse to give the particulars of the surveillance as required under the Rules of Civil Procedure. In that case, it would be appropriate for the examinations for discovery to be concluded and refuse to allow defense counsel to examine the plaintiff in the absence of particulars of the surveillance. This area of the law is extremely clear – the defendant is required to disclose surveillance particulars at examinations for discovery. There are many issues that arise as a result surveillance in the conduct of a personal injury action. For instance, if the defendants have provided a healthcare practitioner retained by the defense conduct a defense medical examination with any particulars of the surveillance such as videos or photos or other documents, they are obligated to contemporaneously provide those documents to the plaintiff.
If you have been injured in an accident and wonder if you are being followed, chances are you probably are. Our team of accident and injury lawyers are knowledgeable in the area surveillance law and can assist you in respect of surveillance by the opposing parties.
Our injury lawyers offer free consultations and work on a no fee until you win basis.
Contact us today for a free consultation at 613-315-4878.
Marc N. Quinn
Ottawa injury and accident lawyer.