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Spoliation of Evidence


Evidence Spoilage is an import topic for SIU investigators and adjusters alike. From the date of loss, the clock is essentially ticking and depending on how soon we can secure and preserve evidence can make or break the defense of a claim. Identifying the possibility for any evidence that might need to be collected is an imperative consideration when handling claims. Is there a potential of surveillance video at a nearby home or business which might have caught the incident? Might that video shed light on the facts of loss and help you make a liability determination? Would a canvas for potential eye-witnesses be just as fruitful? Could we miss the opportunity to identify a potential witness if they move from a location during delay in a canvas of the area? What about downloading and preserving the EDR crash data from the vehicles involved in a minor impact collision in anticipation of an unsupported BI claim or demand? Would the EDR data support the fact that there was no mechanism of injury for a claimant/insured?

 

When coverage is in question with a new policy and a loss reported within minutes or days of a loss, cell phone and call logs may be of value. Did you know that in some cases, cellular carriers only retain cell tower records for 90-days?

 

Sometimes, SIU can secure cooperation from a claimant prior to them retaining a personal injury attorney. In most cases, claimants will cooperate with a coverage investigation and provide recorded statements, allow photographs of their vehicles and even permit the EDR crash data to be downloaded from their vehicle. Once they retain an attorney, there is a low likelihood their attorney would allow them to cooperate with our investigation.

 

Most of the evidence in this digital age is subject to spoilage. Surveillance video recorders have a limited amount of space and some could write over old video and images as soon as 3 days (subject to the recorders own limitations) if the video is not locked, stored or otherwise preserved. If a vehicle involved in an accident is abandoned by the insured/claimant at a tow yard, we may lose our access to inspect the vehicle within 30 days of the accident.

 


Regardless of the evidence in play, most are at the risk of being lost in some form or another. This variable makes it extremely important to preserve any evidence we can, while we can. Referring your claim to SIU for further investigation or evidence preservation as soon as possible gives our investigator's the best chance possible at securing the evidence you need to mount a defense or determine coverage without delay.

 

If you have any questions about any evidence that might be relative to a claim, please do not hesitate to call us at 480-681-7550 or you can send your SIU referral to Covert Business Solutions for a thorough investigation. You can use this link to refer a case: https://covertbs.viewcases.com/case/request/new

 



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