There’s been a serious accident on the common property – someone falls, a pedestrian is hit by a cyclist, or (as in the case of one of our clients) someone drives a car into the community pool. What do you do after you call 911?
Losses due to accidents differ from those caused by storms, floods or other “acts of God” in that there is a possibility of civil liability. One cannot sue the Almighty, but one can sue a community association if there was a broken railing on a gazebo.
The authorities only investigate for criminal liability. The fire department will certainly look for signs of arson after a fire, but they are finished as soon as the smoke clears and are satisfied no crime was committed. The same is true with other kinds of accidents. In many cases, there is no evidence collected beyond a written report where an officer essentially writes “nothing to see here.”
Insurance companies employ skilled investigators who look into incidents such as these to collect evidence and testimonies. They will visit the accident scene to take photos and gather interviews. This is important, because without evidence, a court will have little to go on other than the testimony of those involved.
Having evidence protects both the community association and the person who was injured. Insurance exists to make people whole. The insurance companies we do business with are fair and more than willing to cover genuine losses. On the other hand, having a solid body of evidence can keep people out of court as the photos and testimony collected by investigators can help those involved in a claim recognize where liability truly lies.
When there is an accident, and once everyone is safe, call your insurance agent and tell them what happened. Do not hesitate to call our office, we will make sure the interests of everyone are protected and will work with you to determine the next steps.