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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Long-Term Disability: Surveillance

After every meeting I have with a client, whether it be a potential new client, or a client I have been representing for a while, I always remind them to be careful what they are doing because they likely will never know that a person is following them around town or watching them at home and keeping a detailed summary along with the conducting video surveillance.

Over the years, long term disability insurance companies have begun to rely more frequently on surveillance to help them defeat ERISA claims. The last few years has seen an increase in the aggressiveness of the insurance companies in general, so it should not be a surprise that they are engaging in these kinds of tactics more frequently.

The first question that I am asked by clients is whether or not the insurance company has the right to do this in the first place. That is a fair question. After all, it does not seem right that they can essentially spy on someone who was injured by something that their insured did! However, as unfair as that sounds, the law allows them to engage in limited surveillance.

A lot of people call and say, what am I supposed to do, sit home all day? I can’t live a life, I can’t do any activities because they will put me on video. Can I go to the gym, can I go grocery shopping? I have read court opinions that say, "the court has repeatedly asserted that the mere fact that a claimant has carried on certain daily activities does not detract in any way her credibility as to his/her overall disability. One does not need to be utterly incapacitated in order to be disabled." It is important for clients to understand that you can go about living your life and you do not have to be bed ridden, but it is also very important to be careful and not do to much.

I also tell client never to exaggerate their symptoms, it does not help you get a favorable result. If a doctor tells you not to lift anything over 10 pounds, than make sure you are not lifting heavy items. Sometimes it can hurt your case. It’s almost like your Miranda rights. What you say can and will be used against you. What you hold out to the insurance company, you better believe they can use it against you or they are going to use it against you.

After all, the truth is the truth. If you are following your physicians recommendations and staying within the limitations that they have prescribed for you, there should be nothing that the insurance company can record that would be of any real use to them.

If you have questions concerning your long-term disability claim contact an experienced long-term disability lawyer. We can answer your no matter what state you live in. Please visit our website at

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