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Can the Defense Use a Surveillance Video of You Engaging in Activities during the Trial

January 8, 2015 Personal Injury FAQs

Deposition Testimony

When you have filed a personal injury case and you are claiming compensation for your injuries, the defense will want to capture you on video, on surveillance video, to show to the jury that you can do things that you claimed during your deposition under sworn testimony that you could not do. For instance, you are asked questions at your deposition, which is a question and answer session given under oath prior to the trial. Some of the questions might be:

  • Can you play basketball?
  • Can you engage in rock climbing?
  • Can you go hiking?
  • Can you lift 30 pounds?
  • Can you carry multiple grocery bags at once?
  • Can you carry a gallon of milk?
Personal Injury Case

Do not file malicious personal injury claims for many reasons. 

You say no to all these questions, and the defense lawyer further asks you what are the activities you cannot do now. You provide a whole list of activities you are unable to do because of your injuries. However, shortly afterwards, the defense catches you on video, doing most of the things you claimed you could not do. If this happens, you are in a legal quandary of your own making, and your case is probably finished.

Secret Surveillance Video

The reality is that if the defense captures you on video doing the daily activities that you claimed you could not do, such as walking to your car, or going to pick up your kids, going to the grocery store, and other daily activities you do normally. Can the defense use such a video, to show at the trial that you are able to do so many different things without any pain or serious displeasure?

The answer is the defense might be able to do this, and they may argue to the jury that the plaintiff does not look badly harmed, as he is able to do so many different activities. The defense might be able to use the video for rebutting your argument that you have suffered a significant injury, which prevents you from doing many of your daily activities. There are many people who cannot rock climb in fact!

Does Video Contradict Your Testimony?

The key question is, whether there is anything contradictory between what they caught you doing on video and what you have testified in the past. If there is nothing contradictory, then your lawyer can in fact, use the defense’s surveillance video at trial. He can argue that the video surveillance was not put behind closed doors in your bedroom. If it was, the jury could see how much trouble you had simply to get into your clothes, or going up and down the stairs of your home.

The video was unable to demonstrate, how much trouble you had stepping into the shower. Hence, your lawyer can argue that many things the surveillance video does not show, since the video was not shot inside the privacy of your house. Therefore, the jury should go ahead and listen to the injured victim, who will explain all the trouble he is having carrying out his normal day-to-day activities.