by Kenneth A. David, Esq.

You can spend $1500-$2500 for 2-3 days of surveillance and end up with nothing. However, the key to evaluating whether surveillance is worthwhile is to be able to articulate in specific detail before you make the assignment why you are doing it. Gut feelings rarely are a reason to hire an investigator. You generally want to have credible evidence that the claimant is doing something other than sitting at home or performing the errands of daily life. Showing a judge evidence of a claimant going to his mailbox or the gas station is not compelling video. The old saying of “no surveillance is better than bad surveillance” holds true. Judges in Georgia generally do not want to see surveillance and if you do show the judge surveillance, it must be compelling. Also, if a claimant requests video during discovery, judges will require the employer to turn over surveillance to a claimant before deposition or hearing. The result is that a claimant can prepare an “explanation” for his activities.

There is one other situation where you might assign surveillance even if you have no credible evidence the claimant is active – when you are about to settle a six figure claim. If you are going to spend $100,000 or more, then $2,000 to confirm that the claimant is not active may be money well spent. Of course, 2 or 3 days of the claimant sitting at home does not necessarily prove he is always inactive, but surveillance, just like settlements themselves, is playing the odds.