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PestSure Blog

4 minutes reading time (896 words)

Evidence Matters in a Vehicle Accident

evidence-blog

The number of deadly vehicle accidents is increasing nationally as are the monetary judgements being awarded by juries. As a result, it is incumbent for pest management company owners and managers responsible for driver safety training, to explain the importance of collecting relevant evidence in the aftermath of an employee-involved vehicle accident.

Evidence collection is essential for understanding the circumstances surrounding an accident, identifying causes, preventing future incidents, and ensuring that appropriate actions are taken to improve safety.

Determining the Cause - Evidence helps investigators understand what happened leading up to, during, and after an accident. This information is crucial in determining the root cause of the accident.

Establishing Liability - Evidence can help determine who or what was responsible for the accident. This is important for legal purposes, such as determining liability for damages or injuries.

Preventing Future Accidents - By analyzing evidence from accidents, investigators can identify patterns or trends that may indicate systemic issues. Addressing these issues can help prevent similar accidents in the future.

Improving Safety Measures - Evidence can highlight areas where safety measures were lacking or ineffective. This information can be used to improve safety protocols and prevent accidents in similar situations.

Legal and Insurance Purposes - Evidence is often required for legal proceedings and insurance claims related to the accident. Proper evidence collection ensures that the facts of the case are accurately represented.

Attorney Steven J. Rothman of Jones Foster spoke to attendees of the PestSure Safety and Loss Prevention Meeting to emphasize the importance of training employees to react properly after being involved in an accident.

“Companies need to be aware of the different types of evidence that is available after a vehicle accident,” said Rothman. “That includes identification of witnesses, obtaining statements and testimony of people that witnessed the accident, and the collection of physical evidence that exists after an accident.”

Set Your Defense

To better defend themselves in court and get to the root cause of the accident and improve training protocols, pest control companies need to be aware of the existence of data that is available on their service vehicles. These can include:

  • Event data recorders
  • Drive camera
  • Vehicle telematics

“When an accident happens, the investigative process begins immediately even before lawyers are involved,” said Rothman. “It’s especially important for evidence to be collected, especially that type of evidence that has the tendency to dissipate or disappear with the passage of time.”

Rothman told attendees it is important drivers understand the importance of collection of evidence as well as their managers. If possible, managers need to go to the scene of the accident to assist in collecting evidence, that can be beneficial.

“Use of data that is available now commonly can make the defense of the case very quickly,” said Rothman. “In my view more data is what you want. You want more data, not less.”

Dash cam video is particularly valuable to pest control companies that have good driving practices in place. If a company is confident in their practices with respect to the hiring and training and supervision of their employees, the presence of dash cam footage is going to benefit them.

Evidence Collection and Preservation

In the aftermath of an accident employees should immediately inform their office and, if there are injuries, call 911. Any spilled product should be dealt with immediately following spill clean-up procedures as trained. After that, if there is physical evidence available at the scene – evidence related to the road surface, the vehicles, witnesses at the scene and the circumstances that exist at the scene at the time. If possible, it is important to document through photos and video any of those conditions as it existed.

If there is physical evidence available at the scene – evidence related to the road surface, the vehicles, witnesses at the scene and the circumstances that exist at the scene at the time – it must be collected and preserved. If possible, document through photos and video any of those conditions as it existed.

Do not get rid of any evidence related to an accident until after the statute of limitations or the life of litigation, whichever is longer.

If another party’s attorney sends you a preservation of evidence letter, you are legally obligated to maintain all the evidence gathered. You may want to share evidence with your insurance claims examiner and any assigned defense attorney, but no one else unless directed to.

Rothman said the failure to preserve relevant evidence related to the accident can result in the court imposing unfavorable inferences that would apply against a company if evidence/information is not retained.

“Good practices must be in place so that the drivers are trained in what to do in the event of an accident,” said Rothman. “Nothing is more important than safety. Without it, this industry does not exist.”

PestSure – Your Partner in Safety

Founded in 1980, PestSure is the only insurance and risk management provider that is 100 percent dedicated to the pest management industry. We offer industry professionals a full suite of insurance, risk management, and safety training and education offerings.

PestSure provides insurance, safety and risk management consulting to pest management companies representing $2 billion in revenue, $750 million in payroll and more than 16,500 service vehicles. The program is administered by Alliant Insurance Services.

Call 888.984.3813 or visit our contact page for more information.

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