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Last Post 12/26/2010 2:27 PM by  Ray Hall
How photograph car against building claims
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12/26/2010 2:13 PM

    I do a lot of car against building claims and thought I would share some of the things I try to do with my photos. I'm sure there are some people with more experience than I, please chime in if you have anything to add. I know this is not CAT adjusting per se, but I know that many CAT adjusters do daily claims or are trying to get into daily claims.

    Things to photograph:

    1) The damaged elevation (obviously)

    2) Closeup of the damage (obviously)

    3) scratches and or skid marks on curbs and sidewalks. These marks will reveal the path of the vehicle. Marks in the dirt or grass from the wheels. The path of the vehicle may be important to defend or deny liability.

    4) Hydrants, street signs etc., especially any that appear new (recently replaced). If the city or utility has made any repairs, they will eventually claim against the driver and driver's insurance company. This claim may not appear for months. If there is a potential "limits issue" (claims exceed driver's limits) the vehicle carrier won't want to settle with anybody until all the claims are in. The adjuster's photo of the repaired light pole might be the only clue that another claim will show up later on.

    5) I almost always find small pieces of car parts, especially in bushes. Photograph these in place, then closeup. I took a picture the other day of a piece of yellow plastic that was threaded. I couldn't figure out what kind of car part it was. After I thought about it I realized it was probably a peice of a dust cap from a fire hydrant that was also hit. Now I realize that the fire hydrant was probably hit and repaired, something no one mentioned at my inspection!

    6) Sprinkler heads etc., damaged or undamaged.

    7) damage to trees, lawns, bushes. (some of these photo suggestions will obviously overlap) Even if you are handling the building owner who has no coverage for trees, the building owner may wish to claim their tree loss from the vehicle carrier. Again, this additional claim could create a limits issue on subrogation.

    8) The building owner will often be given an "information card" from law enforcement as well as a business card. Ask for these and photograph them. The info card will have the police report number, date of loss, and the officer's name, all very important for ordering the police report. Many times in LA it is not obvious which agency did the report- LAPD, local city, Sherriffs, CA highway Patrol, etc.

    9) You may wish to ask for the business card of the building occupant (commercial loss) and a copy of their lease, so you can document (photograph?) the name of the landlord as well as the tenant. You may be requested to do this if your first party is the tenant, but it is good to get this info even if you represent the vehicle carrier. The vehicle carrier will not want to compensate a tenant for landlord property or compensate a landlord for tenant property. Of course you can just ask for this contact info, and also the names of the other parties carriers and adjusters if available.

    10) Take photos of the address numbers.

    11) sometimes I take photos of the street sign, which will document the name of the street, the block, and the city.

    12) The building owner or tenant will often have photos of the accident, showing the car halfway inside the building with firefighters working. For some reason people really like to take these photos and get them printed out. I take pictures of the pictures. If person has photos on a computer screen or camera monitor, I ask to take pictures of the screen. At the very least this will document that the pictures exist. You can ask the person to email the photos to you.

    13) If there are other damaged cars take pictures of them, even if you are not adjusting the vehicle damage. The cars may get towed away the next day, never to be seen again. The license plate of a damaged car may lead to an important witness that was in that car. It may also document another claim that will be filed that the carrier(s) is not yet aware of.

    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member

    12/26/2010 2:27 PM

    sounds like you are right on Leland. In the past I have been the adjuster for the auto that has been trapped in a building by steel pipes placed in  cement in the ground by the owner. Just adjusting get rid of it with out getting the lawyer involved.

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