One of the questions we receive most frequently with regards to workers’ compensation cases is whether video surveillance is useful when arguing a case. Clients want to know if video footage could help them in their fight for benefits, or if an employer can use video footage against them. Knowing the answer to this query can be extremely helpful in building your case, preparing for court, and handling yourself while waiting for your day before a judge. To further elaborate, we have put together a simple guide to consider the pros and cons of video footage in a workers’ compensation case.
Types of Video Surveillance
Before we can dig into the pros and cons of using video surveillance in court for a workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to establish the types of surveillance that might be used. These include:
- Workplace Security Cameras – Many employers make use of closed-circuit TV or other video surveillance systems to deter thefts. These cameras can also capture the moment when a workplace injury occurs.
- Phone Cameras – These days, most people have smartphones and other mobile devices with built-in cameras. In the event of an accident, there is a chance that the injured worker, a coworker, or a customer might pull out his or her phone and begin to document the incident.
- Private Investigator Cameras – In some instances, an employer might hire a private investigator to follow you in an attempt to prove that you haven’t truly sustained injuries or that you are exaggerating your injury or illness.
Pros of Video Surveillance
For the most part, video surveillance for worker safety can be quite useful in a court case for a workplace injury. Here are some of the pros:
- Visual Proof of Incident – Video footage can prove that you were in the workplace when you sustained your injuries, in addition to verifying how the injury occurred and which body parts were injured.
- Proof of Ongoing Conditions – Cameras can also show the unsafe or poor working conditions that may have contributed to your injury. Even though worker’s compensation is considered a “no-fault” system, such footage may help support an injured worker’s claim about how his or her injury happened in the absence of a video showing the actual incident.
- Time Stamp – Video documentation shows exactly when and where the accident occurred so that your employer or your employer’s insurer cannot try to claim that you failed to report your claim promptly.
- Empathy – Having the ability to see the trauma that was inflicted upon you at the time of the incident can make it easier for others to empathize with you, thus helping you achieve a favorable outcome.
Cons of Video Surveillance
There are some instances in which video surveillance could become problematic for your case. Some of these include:
- Private Investigator Footage – If an investigator has been hired to follow you and record you as you go about your daily business, he or she will be trying to capture anything that could make it appear as though you are faking or exaggerating your condition. This means that footage showing you not using a prescribed medical device (such as a cane or neck brace) or even appearing overly cheerful or active could be captured on film and used against you.
- Employee Fault – If you contributed to the cause of your injury (i.e., by not following a safety rule or engaging in horseplay on the job), video surveillance could prove that your employer should not be held responsible for your injuries or is entitled to pay less in benefits than you may have received otherwise.
The key thing to remember is that video footage may be an important factor in your workers’ compensation cases, so keep that in mind when thinking about evidence that may exist that could help, or hurt, your case, and be sure to let your attorney know of any video footage that you are aware of. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Mintz Law Firm have dealt with video surveillance in many cases and can advise you on its impact on your case. Call today for your free initial consultation.