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It’s Holiday Time: All About Submitting After-Hours Claims

December 29, 2021

There are various ways of presenting a case after hours. There are a few pointers as to what our team needs and doesn’t need when a claim is submitted. In this blog, we cover the dos and don’ts of submitting after-hours claims. We offer our piece of advice as to what it is you should do and shouldn’t do as this will help our team understand your concerns better.

The Dos of Submitting After-Hours Claims

1. Giving Specific Instructions to Contractors

The contractors are the first responders who respond to the incident. Contractors would go in and get the ball rolling to get the repair work started. However, our recommendation is to not do that from the get-go if you have liability issues, coverage issues, or subrogation.  It is not in the contractor’s scope to assess these factors and the ball is in the adjuster’s court.

Suggested Instructions to Contractors:

  • Board up or fence up the scene to ensure no one is going in or out if it’s a large claim. If it’s a small claim, ask the insurers to keep out of the area of loss.
  • If it’s a larger claim, secure the debris and piles by securing them up with tarps. At times there is debris on the front lawn piled up by the contractor that’s spread across. To preserve the evidence, the debris needs to be secured by tarps.
  • Do not alter electrical panels. In fire cases, the electrical panel is inspected for any tripped fuses or any critical information. The contractors at times flip all the switches. They can flip the main electrical switch but leave the others unaltered.
  • If items need to be removed, then take photos in situ before removing them.

In the first photo, the scene has opportunities for improvement. It has not been sufficiently secured. The adjuster should have given more details or hired security as the scene could be compromised. This photo might cause trouble later.

The second photo is the right way to secure the scene. The adjuster kept in mind any potential liability issues or subrogation and hence the scene was properly secured and fenced off.

2. Proper Securing of Evidence

Evidence needs to be secured appropriately. Treat items of potential evidence as to actual, official evidence.

  • The adjuster or contractor on the scene should log a chain of custody. It could be a piece of paper with the name of the person in charge who notes the item descriptions, date, and time of what they’re handling
  • Store the items appropriately. In incidents where contractors or third parties take the evidence to their facilities, it needs to be preserved properly.

Our investigator went to the facility to study the fridge that had been brought to the facility. He was told that the fridge was kept outside and was covered in a pile of snow.

Post thawing, the fridge was found in this condition. This is why it is key to filing and securing evidence appropriately even after-hours. Find the right place for evidence storage. If the garage can be used temporarily while the contractors figure out a game plan, then use that area. Do not leave evidence exposed to the elements no matter how small the item being inspected. This could open you up to arguments against subrogation.

3. Get a Forensic Expert Involved Immediately

Not all investigations require forensic investigation but when in doubt, contact Origin and Cause through an email or a phone call. We will get back to you as soon as possible. The longer the evidence is not preserved, you’re increasing the risk of compromised evidence and decreasing your negotiating power when it comes to subrogation.

The Dos of Submitting After-Hours Claims

1. Do not Send Notice of Loss with Prejudiced Information

  • The prejudiced information can be very damaging to your claim investigation. The information that is required by us includes the location of the loss and the type of loss.
  • Do not give your opinion of what you think happened.
  • Treat every file as if it were to end up in litigation.

Resist the temptation to put anything down that could be perceived as prejudiced or biased and give us the basic information

The Procedure for Sending a New Assignment to Origin and Cause

You can go to our homepage and click Submit New Assignment. Fill in the basic information required by us on the form. It is alright if you do not have all the information.

Fill in the details asked under each tab. If you have the information for the fields required, we encourage you to share the information with us even if it is not mandatory.

We would need not just your information but the contractor’s information so we could contact them and guide them as to how to proceed with the procedure.

Do not comment on causation or responsibility. Do not come to conclusions as to what you think might have caused the failure. It could be treated as bias. If we have questions, we will ask the questions that need to be answered.

If you have any files you’d wish to attach, you can send that over as well.

Once you hit the submit button, you are greeted with this message as a confirmation that we have received your claim. Your files are stored in our centralized claim intake group and we assign you an expert very quickly we take pride in how quickly new assignments are taken care of. The expert will contact you. Even if it is an after-hours claim, we make sure we contact you as soon as possible.

To submit after-hours claims, in addition to submitting a new assignment, you can also contact us using the following information:

A Glimpse into Origin and Cause

We’re located in 17 locations with over 40 forensic experts and we’re widespread across Canada. Some of our locations include Kingston, Halifax, Sudbury, Ottawa, Orillia, and Edmonton with much more spread across the country. Our services include fire and explosion investigation, K9 investigation (accelerant detection dog looking for fuels, gas, and accelerants used in suspicious fires), structural engineering services, electrical engineering, alarm system analysis, materials, and metallurgical engineering, chemical engineering, forensic litigation services. We’ve been involved in over 1500 cases and we qualify as expert witnesses in legal cases in all levels and types of courts. We have testified in over 170 litigation cases in Canada, the USA, and internationally.

What Makes Origin and Cause Different

We stand out due to a variety of factors.

Geographical Reach

  • We have local technical experts throughout the country
  • Cost-saving on travel for the claims team
  • Quick site examinations to maximize subrogation potential
  • Quick and flexible reporting

Public Sector Relationships

  • We work closely with police departments and fire halls and conduct training sessions for them
  • There is also a strong onsite collaboration however we ensure there is no sharing of information that will harm the client however through our association, we can get quick access to the scene and it’s easy to corporate with them to work the investigation better

Contact Origin and Cause today to file a claim even if it is an after-hours claim. We are here to help and assist you and will reach back to you shortly to ensure a smooth, unbiased investigation.