Accident Investigation / Claims Reporting
By: Matt Schiefferly
Vice President Safety Services
The best way to control long term claims costs is to establish
and train employees on the proper method for accident investigation and reporting.
Accident investigation and reporting are critical in reducing the costs of both
workers compensation and vehicle accidents. A good report provides the claims
adjusters with the all of the information needed to handle a claim properly. This
allows for quicker and more accurate settlement, less complications with litigation
and a happier customer. These factors all attribute to an overall reduced claims
In reporting a claim it is important to provide the basic facts in a clear and concise
matter. A company wide claim form should be developed that pertains to both vehicle
accidents and workers compensation claims. All employees should be made aware
of the forms and how to properly complete them.
An accident investigation kit should be in every vehicle. This kit should include
a pen, a report form that includes all of the information requested below, business
cards of the company safety officer, witness cards, and a disposable camera.
The involved party should make time immediately following the incident to complete
the basic information on the form. This must include the following:
Date and time of loss, name and phone numbers of those involved, location of accident,
estimate of damages, name and department (sheriff, city police , CHP) of police
officer if a report was made, weather conditions, and a brief description of the
accident, list of witnesses (if none the first person on the scene), if persons
were injured the name and phone number of where they were taken.
Do not move the vehicle until all pictures are taken. Take pictures of all damaged
vehicles, the area and road conditions, stop lights, intersection, etc. Take all
the pictures, you can never have too many, and the camera will not be used again.
Do not speak to anyone regarding the accident besides the officer on scene. Show
your drivers license, and give the business card of a contact at the company safety
Remember these three rules: Promise nothing, admit nothing, dont argue. Act
like the professional driver that you are. Do not provide theories or admit guilt.
This information needs to be reported to the company safety department as quickly
as possible and forwarded to your insurance provider.
Once the employee is back to the office have them write a detailed description of
the accident. This is important for all types of accidents; workers compensation,
traffic, cargo, property damage etc. This report should include as much of a narrative
as possible. This information will be useful in the claim settlement. If the accident
requires, make sure the proper drug and alcohol testing is performed via the DOT
This information will give a clear picture of what took place and make the claims
process go much smoother. These same principals can be applied to cargo and property
damage claims. It will give your customers the feeling of comfort and that something
is being done to settle their claims.
If you should have any questions regarding accident investigation practices or would
like sample forms please contact Matt Schiefferly @ (800) 852-1968 or e-mail
Our web site now allows for the reporting of claims, MVR requests, vehicle additions
and deletions and more.