Some disability insurance companies use surveillance and other probing techniques to demonstrate that a claimant is not disabled. Insurers are waiting and watching for those moments that might “prove” that the patient in question is actually capable of working.
Many insurers actively search for evidence of fabricating or feigning disability, as grounds to deny disability benefits or terminate existing benefits. Video surveillance and “cyber” intelligence are common tactics used to deny disability claims.
Video Surveillance in Disability Claims Denials
Insurance providers often have private investigators on the payroll to observe the insured and monitor their activities for periods of time. The goal is to expose the unsuspecting claimant on film in an act that is incompatible with the claimed disability. After editing weeks of taping, they get the footage that may lead to claim denial; often the video is only seconds or minutes long.
The surveillance footage does not have to be dramatic. Simple acts such as gardening, grocery shopping, driving to the doctors’ or going to a restaurant — without apparent discomfort or difficulty — have been enough to argue that no disability exists, and that the insured still has the physical and mental ability to return to work.
Social Media Surveillance
Insurers monitor social media updates of insureds. Most posts on Facebook or other accounts generally tend to be of good moments meant to share with friends. It’s just a matter of time before a claimant’s post of a picture of him or herself in a moment of happiness can be taken completely out of context by an insurer who seeks to deny benefits.
Suppose you are on claim for chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Your family takes you to the park for a few hours of outdoor relaxation, using every measure to ensure your comfort. The insurer finds that you have posted a laughing picture with the caption that you had a great time at the park yesterday. With no true context to the post, these words can be used against you, and become a perfect opening to argue that disability does not exist.
How Surveillance Is Used with Independent Medical Exams
The insurer will forward the surveillance and the investigator’s report to the independent medical examiner who will then evaluate and test the claimant. The goal is for this information to prejudice the examining doctor against the insured, leading to a biased review and ultimate denial.
Those filing disability claims must be aware that insurance companies consider much more than medical records when reviewing claims. Video and digital surveillance can carry a negative impact on a disability claim and is high priority for many insurers who seek to deny or cut off an insured’s proper benefits.
Do Not Let the Insurance Company Manipulate You
Contact us if you believe your insurance company has used surveillance to disprove your claim. With an experienced lawyer representing your case, you should not be concerned, considering you are not undertaking activities that differ from what your treating physician states you are unable to do.
Our long term disability attorneys for will show if the surveillance is not relevant to the requirements of working under your policy. We are happy to discuss your disability claim or appeal with you. There is never any obligation for a case evaluation.