You've just put your drill through a client's water pipe, water is gushing everywhere and adrenalin is running high.
'I can't believe I did that'.
'That was totally my fault'.
These comments are admitting liability!
While these sorts of words may naturally want to come out of your mouth when you've damaged someone's property or have caused an accident they could end up causing you more grief than relief.
Here is some IMPORTANT ADVICE for when you're involved in a situation that is likely to result in a claim.
1. DO NOT admit liability.
It is easy to say 'Sorry, I never saw you,' or feel liable for damage particularly if you're on the job. It is the insurers job to determine liability, let them decide and avoid making apologies.
2. Lodge a claim as soon as possible.
Late notification can affect how your insurer views your claim so don’t delay in lodging your claim.
3. The Third Party will need to lodge a claim with their Insurer.
You may feel responsible for sorting everything out or believe your own insurance company will deal with everything. However, the third party WILL need to lodge a claim against their own insurance. It's best if everyone is aware of that at the outset.
4. Advise your broker (or insurer if you don't have a broker) of any communication from the Third Party or their Insurer.
5. Do not say anything that may affect the Insurer’s ability to defend the claim made against you.
This means DO NOT, at any stage, admit liability.
6. Take all reasonable steps to minimize the claim and avoid any further loss or liability.
For example, repair the pipe you burst. This will minimize the loss.
Any costs beyond minimizing the loss should be approved by your insurer. You may feel you have an obligation to make things right, but do not pay for repairs. The insurance companies will manage this process.
7. Keep your broker informed of any developments as they occur.
Insurance policies respond to legal liability and if the insurer has reviewed all the information and they cannot see how you are legally liable for a loss, liability will not be confirmed. However, the third party will be covered by their own insurance.
I often talk to clients who feel they have a moral obligation to make things right when in fact they may not be legally liable.
For more claims tips read my other blogs:
By Chantal Tarr, previously Claims Manager.
About the AuthorName: Rothbury
Like many of our business insurance clients we're a majority NZ owned company that was started by enterprising Kiwis in 1950. Today, New Zealand is a different place to when we first started. As a consequence, the way…
Like many of our business insurance clients we're a majority NZ owned company that was started by enterprising Kiwis in 1950. Today, New Zealand is a different place to when we first started. As a consequence, the way we respond to your business and personal protection needs has evolved and matured.
While our core business is still related to creating the best insurance solutions for you, our motivation and passion now lie in being unconditional advocates for our diverse range of clients. In other words people like you.Close