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Disability Insurance Investigators Using Drones for Claimant Surveillance

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Insurance surveillance takes place all year round, but summer has always been high season for private investigators gathering video on the activities of disability insurance claimants. The increasingly small size and decreasing cost of equipment has made conducting video surveillance a stronger tool than ever before.

Making it even easier? A rise in the use of aerial drones.

A growing number of private investigators are now using drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to conduct the same kind of surveillance that once required a parked vehicle located near your property. Depending on the sophistication of the investigator, their surveillance may use a small drone that you can see as it buzzes by your home, or a more complex device that takes videos at a high enough attitude that you would not even think of looking for.

For claimants who live in rural areas, or on large pieces of well-landscaped property, the use of a surveillance drone means that activities on your own property can no longer be considered private.

Regardless of how you feel about the use of drones to conduct aerial surveillance, there are a few things that disability claimants need to keep in mind as the summer season begins:

If you have appointments that take you out of the house, make sure to keep notes of them. The surveillance video that matches with doctor’s appointments, for instance, will not prove anything about your ability to be active.

If you are on claim and have a good day where you feel like you can tackle something like yard work or cleaning out the garage, think twice. You may know it’s the first time you’ve felt good in months, but surveillance video could be used to demonstrate otherwise.

We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. Social media is discoverable. If you attend a family picnic or party and someone includes you in a photo or a video that is posted online, the insurance company will find it and use it against you.

If an investigator knocks on your door for an impromptu interview, you do have certain rights. You may not be compelled to speak with someone without having a family member or trusted friend in the room with you. Contact an experienced disability insurance attorney to make sure that the investigator does not use unscrupulous techniques and obtain information from you that could be harmful to your claim.

If your disability insurance claim has been denied, or if you are about to file for a disability claim and are concerned about your claim, call our office at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524).

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Frankel & Newfield does not currently handle any Social Security Disability Insurance claims.

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