Caught On Film?

On October 1, 2012, in Yukon, by Rosalie McLachlin

You Can Dispute Disability Video Evidence

“Video evidence is a lot like nitroglycerin,” writes James Careless in an article for attorney members of the Canadian Bar Association. “Properly handled, it can demolish an opposing counsel’s case. Carelessly managed, it can blow up in your face.”

Valerie Royle and her “fraud squad” at the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) got a fresh lesson on that recently. The winners? Claimants like you.

In 2007, Royle hired a fraud investigator to smoke out workers she suspected was illegally collecting millions of dollars in disability claim payments. Using video surveillance and other techniques, the investigator identified six individuals who the YWCHSB believed were making false claims.

Claimants filmed bragging in bars

“In most cases, the illegal claimants were living outside the Yukon,” reported CBC News North in a September 2008 story. Claimants were bragging in bars, running heavy-equipment businesses, and even playing on sports teams—after they’d claimed that they were “totally disabled.”

However, this summer an appeal tribunal rejected the YWCHSB fraud investigator’s allegations—for the second time. That’s good news for the claimants, and bad news for the fraud squad.

In one case, an investigator collected video surveillance that showed the claimant apparently mowing the lawn, shopping, and taking out the garbage at his new Vancouver-area home. He been been injured in a 1991 gas explosion near Watson Lake, Yukon. In 2010 he was still collecting full benefits—until the Board reviewed the results of the surveillance and terminated his benefits.

He appealed the decision, and won. He will receive full benefits that will be restored retroactively.

Video evidence can be inadmissible

“No matter how good it is, video evidence is inadmissible if it cannot be shown to be relevant to the case at hand,” writes Careless in his Video Evidence article. He argues that a court can exclude evidence such as video surveillance if it deems the footage is “… irrelevant, inaccurate, unfair, unauthenticated, and prejudicial.”

Like worker compensation boards, insurance companies may use video surveillance to monitor the authenticity of claims made by hard-working people like you. It shouldn’t stand in the way of your disability claim.

If you have been denied a disability claim because of video evidence, get a second opinion. For a free lawyer referral, call toll-free at 1-855-843-9729.

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