Can ICBC hire a private investigator to follow you around? Unfortunately, yes they can.
Once a personal injury claim has begun, especially for major injury cases, ICBC can hire a private investigator to learn more about you.
In Williams v. Sekhon, 2019 BCSC 1511, Honorable Mr. Justice Voith discussed the three type of investigations ICBC can pursue:
- Open source – public internet and social media searches;
- Actual surveillance – surveillance activity by an investigator; and
- Witness interviews – contacting colleagues/friends/neighbors.
The purpose of ICBC hiring private investigators is to find evidence that they can use to challenge your credibility in court. For instance, social media posts about you or video footage of you doing activities you claim you are unable to do due to your injuries, or your co-workers and neighbors mentioning that they have not seen any of your regular activities being impacted by your injuries.
At this point, you must be wondering whether or not there are any restrictions, limitations or guidelines around such investigations into your personal life.
Mr. Justice Voith stated that such investigations cannot be used to intimidate or embarrass the individual – the investigations are to be conducted to find facts that help determine whether or not the individual’s claim is reasonable. He discussed how these investigations need to be consistent with ICBC’s Performance Standards for Private Investigators. This means that the investigation must be proportionate to the claim and must be as least obtrusive as possible, plus the investigator must provide their identification when asked and must protect the privacy of the other individuals. Also, the investigator’s report must not contain any of their own personal opinions or comments. Interestingly the court made no comments in the proportional cost of investigation to the value of the claim. ICBC is free to spend whatever resources they wish independent of the value of the claim.
As unsettling as it may be to know that there may be someone investigating you, all you can do is be cautious about what you say and do after an accident and while you have an ongoing personal injury claim.
Our legal team at Simpson, Thomas & Associates is experienced in representing individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents and advocating on their behalf. So if you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please call us at (604) 689-8888 or contact us online to schedule a complimentary consultation.