The speed and accuracy with which a claim can be resolved depends in large measure on what happens in the first minutes and hours after a loss is first suspected.
If you suspect a loss, you can help yourself immeasurably by taking the following appropriate initial actions:
- Protect People and Property / Call 911
If a spill, release, breakage, damage or accident has occurred that does or could pose a threat to people or property, immediately call 911, for professional emergency first responders to provide assistance and stabilize the situation. If it is clearly safe to do so, take measures to control or contain the threat until their arrival.
- Stabilize the Scene and the Freight
Subject to instructions from the first responders, take initial steps to prevent additional loss, and to isolate in place the existing loss.
Involve the driver – point out the problem, and suggest that he/she calls their dispatch. Call Copper Run and tell us your observations and concerns – we will immediately, that minute, begin problem resolution.
- Take Photographs
Before the freight is moved, or taken off the truck, take photographs, and record measurements or whatever other information you think may be important or relevant. Remember – whatever loss has happened up to now is very likely not your fault, so be certain it is fully and accurately documented as you discovered it. E-mail us the photographs: Copper Run will distribute them on an as-need basis.
- Unload the Freight, Without Causing More Damage
Provided that the driver or carrier do not want the freight left on the truck for their own inspectors, you should off-load the freight from the truck to your dock if it is at all possible to do so.
Even if the freight is severely damaged and/or beyond use, the probability of a successful claim is far higher if the freight is in a secure location on your dock in the condition in which it was delivered to you, where you control it, where it can be inspected by insurance adjusters, and where it is protected from further damage. All of that evidence is released and possibly lost if you do not unload the freight.
In addition, as a claimant, you do have an obligation to mitigate, and securing the damage and preventing additional damage is part of mitigation.
- Take More Photographs
The better the documentation, the stronger your claim. Remember, it is necessary, but often not sufficient, merely to prove there was damage – how and by whom the damage was caused is equally important, and photographs will often indicate, or exclude, possible causes.
- Keep the All of the Damaged Freight, In the Damaged Condition in which it was Delivered
Unless required by emergency responders or authorized by the carrier’s insurance company, do not dispose of the damaged freight, do not repair or modify it, and do not use it.
If the insurance company cannot physically inspect the damaged items, they will have difficulty processing and paying a claim.
- Do Not Repair the Damage, Do Not Use the Damaged Freight, and DO Not Discard the Damaged Freight
If you modify the condition of the damaged freight so that the initial loss cannot be accurately assessed, there is a good chance you will nullify at least part of your claim.
When the insurance company does agree to pay a claim, they will then assume ownership of the damaged goods: you must be able to give them the damaged freight in return for your settlement cheque.
- Cooperate and Mitigate
You may be angry as ever about the damage, and the impact it may have on your plans, your business, and your customers’ businesses. But, from the very outset, you must cooperate and you must mitigate the loss if and as you have the opportunity to do so. At the very least, you should not make the loss worse.
Copper Run, with your permission, will be very quickly preparing claim documentation and involving the necessary parties, so the more you can support that process, the more quickly the claim will be finalized and resolved.