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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 costs.

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 department.

Remember these three rules: Promise nothing, admit nothing, don’t 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 requirements.

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 Matts@paulhanson.com.

Our web site now allows for the reporting of claims, MVR requests, vehicle additions and deletions and more.