First Rule: Use Experienced Railroad Claims Adjusters
When an accident claim is filed involving a railroad your first step should be to call in experienced railroad claims adjusters. Thousands of accidents happen each year involving railroads and the railroad companies have long established systems for dealing with them. Insurance claims adjusters without extensive background in railway rules and operations are at a serious disadvantage.
Typically the railroad issues a claim against the insuring company using a set of internal guidelines and formulas that may have little to do with what damages actually were suffered and whether the insured is even liable. A further complication is that each railroad has its own rules and formulas for determining damages which require years of experience to understand.
The important first step after an incident is to get a knowledgeable adjuster to the accident site as quickly as possible to gather evidence and issue a preliminary report.
It is vital to have the facts of the incident, testimony of the parties involved and evidence of what actual damages were sustained. For example railroad claims adjusters should be able to determine whether claimed damages were already existing or are actually a result of the incident.
Adjusters with rail operations background can also investigate to determine if rail employees were following company rules and government regulations helping to determine actual liability. Government regulations covering rail operations are complex and each rail company has its own internal procedures.
Experienced Railroad Claims Adjusters Pay For Themselves In Savings
In a recent accident a privately owned freight car became uncoupled from the rest of the cars then rolled into a locomotive causing considerable damage. It appeared to be a clear case of negligence and fault on the part of the shipper that loaded the car. An experienced railroad claims adjuster however discovered a required safety device that would have prevented the accident had been improperly installed by the railroad.
Such a finding could obviously change the balance of liability. It was only because the adjuster had many years of operational background in rail rules, procedures and equipment that he was able to spot this failure on the part of the railroad and provide the defending insurance company with an important bargaining point.
Bodily injury claims can be especially costly and a determination that an employee wasn’t following required procedures can result in substantial savings.
Rail companies will typically issue a poorly documented claim amount and the defending insurance company will feel good if it can negotiate some discount from the initial demand. An experienced claims adjuster who knows what they’re doing will prepare a detailed and itemized report of each individual damage claim item. Often this will uncover items where the damages were preexisting, never repaired or there is no damage.
A less obvious benefit of a vigorous investigation of rail accident claims can be to put the rail company on alert that they need to carefully substantiate future claims against you.
As with most everything in life finding the right expert is worth the effort and using the best railroad claims adjusters is no exception.