How is technology useful in forensic inspections
As Expert witnesses the content of our report has to be very accurate, but we also move a great deal of data around, so how do we achieve this?
Laird Assessors’ most popular instruction is to provide an accident damage report, which entails correctly identifying the Principals request, liaising with the vehicle owner over the inspection logistics, organising the most geographically efficient engineer to travel to the vehicle. The engineer must then thoroughly examine the vehicle and in particular assess the amount, direction and magnitude of accident damage. He will then compile a comprehensive report detailing his findings, opinions, costs and recommendations within the Civil Procedures Rules framework. There are often additional tasks to complete such as agreeing the total loss value with the owner, organising salvage disposal, agreeing / authorising repair costs with the garage, etc.
This all has to be done within the fee, which is currently cheaper than you can get a plumber to fix a washer on a tap! We therefore use a clever mix of technology and human intervention at the appropriate points, which not only helps to keep the fee low, but also makes us very efficient and accurate. Any one of our reports can end up in Court so we have to ensure that everything we do is as precise as possible.
Our bespoke software is now in its forth generation of evolution and is written in a Zend framework, making it modular and highly adaptable. Known as Horizon it can accept instructions via a simple API direct from most Principals’ systems (e.g. ProClaim) or read typed instructions. The system automatically interprets the most likely position of the vehicle and directs the file to the appropriate logistics team to book the inspection. Car owners will also be able to book inspections online shortly. Horizon will extract data from HPI and the DVLA to assist the engineer. The engineer uses industry standard software from either Glassmatix or Audatex to compile his estimate, which is then directly transferred into Horizon to be converted into a report. Any idiosyncrasies with a particular principal (such as salvage matrix, labour rates, etc) are automatically populated by the system.
Human intervention prior to the report being released is essential, not only for quality control but to ensure that we have fully and correctly complied with our Principals instructions.
The report, file notes and any other documents are all available on line plus management information and statistics making this one of the industries most useful and comprehensive tools.