“Setting the Strategy Stage: Taking the Proper Claims Investigation Steps Early is Key to Managing Recurring Litigation Themes"
In an article published in the January 2019 issue of CLM Magazine, Trey Dowdey outlines the importance of an initial investigative strategy to move claims forward quickly and successfully. A thorough initial claims investigation can help spot potential issues early in the process and posture claims for efficient and successful outcomes.
For an effective initial claims handling, Dowdey outlines five practical strategies:
Getting the Facts Straight: Nail down case facts as soon as possible.
Procuring Statements: Witness statements should be thorough, and attorneys should be sure to ask questions that will provide as much information as possible, including whether the witness has background information related to the claimant, whether the witness and claimant have a relationship of any kind, whether the witness believes the claimant or if there is any additional information the witness would like to share that was not covered in the posed questions.
Acquiring Surveillance and Gauging Witness Credibility: Security footage of a claimed event may exist, but if no steps are taken to obtain the digital recorded copy, the computerized security files may self-delete after a set number of days. Videos help nail down details that may become distorted over time and can help corroborate or discredit claimant or witness credibility if information is stated on a video.
Physical Evidence and Subrogation: Securing any relevant physical evidence of the claimed incident or carrying out necessary inspections, is important to confirming or denying key details.
Obtaining an Early Legal Opinion: Consider obtaining an early legal opinion before litigation, which can potentially identify unexpected legal issues and the real problems, preclude a claimant from seeking counsel and steer the case to a quick resolution without litigation. If the case goes to litigation, an early legal opinion will help manage expectations while defending the claim.
“If a claim can be settled, it should be — and quickly. If a case will have difficult legal issues, it should be recognized early so the claim can be postured for a trial strategy,” Dowdey said. “Ultimately, nailing down the key legal issues early on will help with positive outcomes and move claims faster, while also keeping expectations, cost projections, anticipated timelines and foreseeable costs realistic.”
For the full article, please click here.