Investigation & Pursuit
The success in our subrogation recoveries lies in our investigation, assessment, and prosecution of subrogation claims. No claim is exactly alike and each claim requires a careful plan of action. The extent of the subrogation claim investigation will depend on the accident or loss details. Our investigation is focused primarily on establishing legal liability of the responsible party. Without a well-developed theory of liability, subrogation is seldomly successful. Subrogation pursuit is handled by our Professional Team, legally trained professionals who understand the quantum of proof to prove liability and damages. As legal liability statutes and doctrines vary by state and jurisdiction, a team well-versed in the law is critical to successful recovery.
We work with independent insurance adjusters, home-office adjusters and third party administrators immediately after a loss to preserve evidence, gather critical information and aggressively pursue clients’ subrogation rights. Our keen knowledge of insurance coverage and first party and third party claims procedures permits us to work effectively with the property, fidelity, workers’ compensation, liability, and subrogation recovery adjusters. Communication and team efforts are vital to a successful recovery. We provide our clients with ongoing communication regarding the investigation, our theories of liability, our analysis of the relevant legal issues and status on the ongoing recovery efforts.
Property and Liability Loss
Our investigation strives to determine legal liability of by those who may be culpable for the loss. We pursue manufacturers, sellers, suppliers, designers of personal and commercial products; and designers, architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and material manufacturers in construction defects; and other persons whose negligence caused the loss.
The keystone for successful subrogation claim is our involvement within 24 to 48 hours following a loss, thereby enabling our professionals to coordinate an immediate investigation into the origin and cause of the loss and determine potential third-party responsibility. We attend loss site inspections, ensure that critical evidence is properly identified and preserved, responsible third-parties are placed on notice and offered a supervised opportunity to conduct a joint scene examination, protect client privileges, including the confidentiality of investigative work conducted in anticipation of litigation; and evaluate the subrogation potential and financial feasibility of pursuing subrogation for each loss.
We also pursue contribution and indemnification claims against responsible parties, either partially responsible or fully responsible for a property loss. Contribution refers to apportioning fault among tortfeasors who are jointly liable to the plaintiff for an incident. Indemnification refers to a party being entitled to total compensation from another party based on a relationship between them. We determine whether there are available other insurance policies that also provide coverage for the same loss. A contract favoring the insured may have required the insured to be listed on the responsible party’s liability insurance policy and naming the insured as an additional insured. As part of our investigation, we secure copies of the additional insured endorsements, as well as the insurance certificate which provides all the necessary insurance policy information, including the insurance company name, policy number, effective dates, policy limits, and other pertinent information.
Auto and Trucking Accidents
Our investigation strives to determine legal liability of the other driver, manufacturer of vehicles and component parts, and the insured in factoring in contributory or comparative negligence. We work with our clients during the investigation to secure critical evidence in order to assist our clients in the evaluation of the subrogation claim We often obtain records of the accident, including:
- Diagrams of Scene
- Department of Transportation reports
- Field Adjuster statements of insured and witnesses
- Police Accident Reports
- Police Statements of vehicle operator and witnesses
- Police Photos
- Police Accident Reconstruction Reports
- Scene Photographs
- Fire Reports
- Weather Reports
- Traffic Light Sequence Reports
Fidelity & Surety Losses
We are a formidable team member in a fidelity insurer’s recovery efforts. At ISG, we are armed with a deep understanding of underlying coverage issues, the repertoire of methods of preserving a fidelity insurer’s right to subrogation, and the aggressive pursuit of subrogation targets. Our early involvement when the first party claim is first reported provides for the most successful recoveries because it allows us to become involved in the most critical stage of developing a strategy for recovery. We play an integral role along with certified fraud examiners, accountants, forensic experts, law enforcement, investigators, and coverage counsel in the underlying claim and criminal investigation. The information developed in determining coverage for the underlying claim is often the most critical evidence also used to pursue recovery against the subrogation targets.
Workers’ Compensation Losses
Workers’ compensation laws can differ dramatically from state to state. Some states allow direct actions against the third parties. Others provide for statutory reimbursement formulas from injured employees’ settlement proceeds. We will ensure that every claim is thoroughly reviewed and all potential avenues of subrogation are investigated and analyzed so that every potential recovery dollar gets reimbursed at the earliest possible time.
Use of Origin and Cause Experts
The initial investigation may include the involvement of an expert, which are often referred to an origin and cause expert. The expert is retained to support any potential subrogation claim based on a defect, malfunction, recent work performed, etc. We routinely coordinate teams of origin and cause investigators; civil, structural, geotechnical, electrical, mechanical, metallurgical, materials, and automotive engineers; combustion scientists; fire protection specialists; certified fraud examiners; accountants; law enforcement; and coverage counsel in the underlying claim to analyze and determine the causes of losses and accidents. We work with experts to ensure thorough analysis, proper evaluation of losses, and to exhaust and/or eliminate alternative theories. We, along with the team of experts, develop non-destructive and destructive testing protocols, coordinate transfer of evidence and preservation of evidence.
Through our expert database, we maintain direct telephone numbers for forensic consultants. This enables us to contact and retain consultants on behalf of clients for new losses during business and after hours to ensure their immediate availability to assist us on emergency scene investigations.
Use of Private Investigators
In conjunction with the investigation, we work with private investigation firms on assignments to obtain recorded statements, photographs, skip tracing and asset searches, motor vehicle registration information, etc.