Aspen Claims Service

The Case of the Couch on the Freeway

 Wednesday, November 2, 2022   John Hawkins   Churchill Claims Services

A three-vehicle rear-ender on the freeway, in which the insured was the front vehicle, had come about due to a couch having allegedly fallen off the back of a flatbed causing the insured to brake sharply and then be rear-ended. No police report had been made and there were no independent witnesses. The two drivers behind the insured were claiming the insured to have been partially, if not wholly, at fault for coming abruptly to a stop on the freeway for no reason. Both claimant drivers were alleging that the insured had stopped without cause and that there was no couch. The adjuster received this assignment within a couple of days of the accident and having interviewed all three drivers was at an impasse as to whom to believe.

It’s our policy to never submit an incomplete investigation report form, so our adjuster put on his fedora and started to examine the case from several new angles. On a hunch the adjuster decided to cruise the stretch of freeway where all three parties said the accident had occurred. After several passes of the area, he managed to locate a couch on the shoulder of the highway. He pulled over, and risking life and limb, he took photographs of the couch and its location.

On further inspection he discovered a sales invoice inside a plastic pouch stapled to the couch. Armed with the information from the invoice he was able to contact the secondhand store that had sold the couch. The store owner confirmed that one of his delivery drivers had “lost” a small couch during a delivery run a couple of days earlier and that his route had taken him along that particular stretch of freeway. The adjuster advised him that the couch was still there if the owner wanted to go pick it up and the owner thanked him.

Confronted with this evidence both claimants changed their stories and admitted that they had in fact seen the couch and their claims were eventually denied. The insured successfully made a claim against the carrier of the driver immediately behind him for his property damage.

Churchill gets the facts: With a complete report, the insurance company was able to successfully process the claim to the right parties. Call Churchill Claims Services for frustration-free claims investigations and complete, accurate information.

John Hawkins is the Founder of Churchill Claims Services, which offers multi-line claims adjusting and investigations in all 50 states.

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