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You probably have heard that ICBC may hire private investigators to make sure that false claims are not pursued by individuals. However, because of the increased use of social media, ICBC has invested less into hiring private investigators and more into following individuals through these social forums.

There are many social forums which individuals frequently use to post status updates and pictures. There is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to name a few.

Whether one’s profile is limited or open, ICBC can find a way to access the information it is looking for. ICBC looks for status updates and photographs which contradict what an individual claims. For example, if an individual claims that they have reduced enjoyment of life because of their injuries but ICBC finds numerous photographs where the individual is out with friends having a good time engaging in physical activities, ICBC can use that evidence to disprove or weaken the individual’s claim about the effect their injuries have had on their life.

ICBC looks for status updates and photographs which contradict what an individual claims.

In Cui v. Metcalfe, 2015 BCSC 1195 (CanLII), the plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff’s injuries included injuries to her neck and back, which resulted in chronic intermittent pain, particularly in her lower back. The Plaintiff claimed that those injuries affected her ability to engage in the highly athletic lifestyle she was involved in prior to the accident. As a result, the Plaintiff alleged reduced enjoyment of life.

The Defendant sought an order for various photographs and videos of the Plaintiff. In support of the defendant’s application, the defendant relied on a number of photographs and a video his counsel located on the internet, which depicted the plaintiff, after the motor vehicle accident, to be engaging in difficult physical activities including silk dancing, aerial dancing, skydiving, Tough Mudder obstacle course racing, and pole dancing.

The court, in the interest of proportionality, ordered photographs or videos of the plaintiff engaged in pole, aerial, silk or hoop dancing, circus acrobatics and Tough Mudder competitions take after the accident to be produced.

In Fric v. Gershman, 2012 BCSC 614 (CanLII), Master Bouck stated that:

“[w]hen [a] physical impairment is alleged, the relevancy of photographs showing the plaintiff engaged in activities that require some physical effort seems rather clear”.

While we would steadfastly object to any request or court application from ICBC lawyers for your photographs, videos and social media information, it is best to keep in mind that your followers on Instagram might just include ICBC.

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