One of the most critical pieces of evidence in proving up a commercial property damage claim is the building itself; and failing to preserve evidence relevant to your damages can provide an insurance company a potential defense to your case. If a property owner, insurer, or other party destroys or fails to preserve material evidence, even if unintentionally, there can be a wide range of consequences. Claims are easier to adjust when events have just occurred and the evidence is fresh.
As soon as a potential claim is identified, the policyholder is under a duty to preserve evidence he or she knows or reasonably should know is relevant to the claim. As a business owner, you must ensure all evidence is preserved as soon as it comes to your attention, including interior goods damaged on the day of the incident or thereafter. Contacting your security provider is especially important to remember since many video surveillance systems automatically delete the footage at certain set intervals. It is also very important to make sure to properly document everything you preserve. In the event inventory must be disposed of due to health and safety concerns, or building repairs must be completed to mitigate damages, it is critical that a policyholder maintain photographs, receipts, and a clear record of what has been disposed of or changed.
The physical evidence of the property itself often serves as the most objective and compelling indicator of the underlying facts in an insurance case. Most property owners don’t think they are destroying evidence by performing repairs after damage is sustained. For an owner, the building is often a place of business, and repairs are necessary to get back to business and to ensure a quality appearance. But keep in mind that by moving forward with repairs without properly documenting and preserving the damages, you could impact the value of your filed insurance claim.
Property Damage Evidence
No matter the type of insurance, a claims adjuster won’t offer to negotiate with you unless you have sufficient, reliable evidence proving your damages. If a fire or another disaster damaged your property, you might be tempted to throw unsalvageable items away. When in doubt, let the insurance company know – in writing – of how you intend to dispose of the property and give them an opportunity to inspect before doing so.
Insurance Claims Lawyers
Raizner Law offers free consultations for anyone in need of a business property damage attorney. Our lawyers have a history of winning large settlements and court awards for property owners. We are committed to helping you recover financially and move forward.