A thorough scene investigation of your next fire case may be the difference between a claim being dropped and a claim being litigated. The timeliness of the investigation and methods employed will ensure that all case facts have been uncovered, and that important evidence is preserved.
Early and thorough responses are imperative and will in turn facilitate cost containment; the accurate identification of culpable parties; preservation of evidence; and the identification of frivolous or exaggerated claims.
Accurate Facts and Preserved Evidence
So let’s say you received notice, requested that the scene be preserved in its current state, and are working to set up a joint inspection; now what? Prepare to go to the scene inspection. Request public official reports, insurer’s photographs, research the location, notified parties, and their products.
When selecting a CFI, consider their adherence to commonly accepted standards for fire investigations, including: National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA); and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Those organizations promulgate standards which courts find authoritative when considering the basis for an investigator’s opinions. Adherence to NFPA and ASTM standards indicates that the fire investigation was conducted through reliable scientific methodologies and short circuits an opposing attorney’s challenge to the validity or credibility of an expert’s opinions.
Attend the Scene Inspection = Firsthand Knowledge of the Players and Facts