Choosing the right forensic engineering firm can be a difficult task as time and experience play an important role for homeowners, builders, and insurance providers alike. Working with a team of experienced engineers who have investigated multiple forensic cases can really make a difference; especially when you have someone who is capable of being a witness in court. This will assist you in protecting your assets, and save you time when there are property losses, injuries, and in some cases, fatalities.
Insurers & Denied Claims
Adjusters and lawyers acting on behalf of insurance companies are the majority of forensic engineering clients. There are, however, some other areas of industry that are also finding it useful to hire forensic engineers. One such area is insureds that disagree with denials from insurers. Orata’s forensic engineering experts help insurers cover denied claims.
Hiring a forensic engineering firm that can support complex cases under one roof is essential. Most often insurance companies are responsible for covering losses and unfortunately the damages can be complicated. In this case, the insurer of each party hires a group of forensic engineering experts like Orata Engineering. These experts investigate the origin and cause of the incident and often times representing them in a court of law.
Orata’s is proud to have one of the leading forensic experts in North America. Our senior lead project management engineer, David Hines, has over 18 years experience in engineering and construction industries, with an extensive background in forensic investigations. He has completed hundreds of investigations to date for adjusters, insurers, and legal counsel (subrogation & litigation). Our team of Building Envelope and Forensic Science Experts provide reliable answers that result from the diligent analysis of the physical evidence, as well as events surrounding the incidents occurrence.
Clear and concise communication is a hallmark of Orata Engineering’s corporate culture. Our Forensic Experts pride themselves on providing readable and accessible reporting of complex technical concepts for non-engineering professionals.
Preventative Planning & Product Quality Assurance
Some companies hire Forensic Engineering Experts for quality assurance of supplier’s products. Which can be valuable in performing root cause analysis of unexpected failures. Quality assurance of suppliers helps ensure end product quality of the manufacturer. Data from the root cause analysis of potential failures helps improve operational efficiency. In turn, it helps planning preventative programs like asset management and reliability maintenance.
When should I contact an Expert
As a general rule, it’s always best to get Forensic Engineers involved as early as possible. Incident scenes are usually chaotic, and fragile evidence can become compromised. Forensic experts use their knowledge of incident scene security by using a systematic approach for evidence collection and chain of custody.
Pro-Tip: When possible, hire a Forensic Engineer at the scene to protect the evidence.
Often, we receive files late into an investigation; usually because clients didn’t expect that their insured had much exposure in the claim. Sometimes, they assume they could rely on conclusions from third party’s investigators. This attempt at cost saving will put you at an increased risk of liability. The other party may miss information at the scene, leaving important data. Effecting your assessment of your insured’s contribution to the incident caused.
Forensic Investigators are legally bound to an unbiased scene examination. It is best to not depend on an opposing party’s investigator unless it’s necessary. As any missed or destroyed piece of evidence has the potential of being a crucial piece of evidence in a file. Proving useful in clearing your insured of a liability. You can also avoid the risk of covering the lion’s share of the damage costs. Due to the nature of this issue, it often goes unnoticed, so another good rule to follow is:
Pro-Tip: If other parties have an expert investigator, so should you!
Often, parties are not put on notice until the investigation is in the late stages or finished. In these cases, you should still hire a Forensic Engineering Expert. They help review available information, assess the scene and check for proper documentation. A forensic investigator also checks the opinion of the other investigators for sensibility.
There are many requirements for proper forensic investigations. Courts may discredit Forensic Investigations if they are not followed. At Orata our Forensic Experts assess the information of another investigator’s work. Thus, our last suggestion for contacting a Forensic Engineering expert is as follows:
Pro-Tip: As long as the claim is still in litigation, it is never too late to hire a Forensic Engineer.
Full Scope Investigations
Orata Engineering has established strategic partnerships with Geotechnical Engineering and Survey Companies to provide full scope services in the Building Envelope and Structural industries. We have developed similar partnerships throughout the Construction Industries, resulting in an ability to provide leading edge investigations.
Our Forensic Engineers can coordinate any sub-trades necessary to complete the requested level of investigation, while providing our clients with one point of contact regarding its progress.
Hire a Forensic Witness
The ultimate end-game of a forensic investigation is in the courtroom. Experience makes a difference.
Careful selection of forensic experts include hiring a team who can provide comprehensive expert forensic services. A lead project management engineer can streamline the process by assisting clients where then need it most. Our senior forensic engineer assembles teams of supporting experts, including engineers and forensic investigators in the following areas: Building Envelope, Fire Investigation, Structural, Electrical and Electronics.
Pro-Tip: The safest move is to choose your representative as if you will go all the way to the courtroom.
Expert forensic witnesses are unique witnesses. They are the only ones permitted to present their opinions in court. To do this, they must go through a qualifying process. Only after this will the court accept to them as an expert witness for each trial where they take part. There are two main categories for anyone to qualify as an expert witness. These are impartiality and professional qualifications.
|Loss Category||Primary Discipline||Auxiliary Disciplines|
|Fire||Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)||Electrical & Electronics, Chemical, Mechanical, Materials/Metallurgical|
|Building Envelope||Building Envelope||Chemical, Civil|
|Leaks/Flooding – freezing (HVAC, heat trace, and level sensors)||Mechanical/Electrical||Metallurgical|
|Water damage – Piping, Connections, and valve failure||Mechanical/Metallurgical||Chemical, Electrical|