Incident reports are kind of an unsung hero for mitigating property risk
First of all, you want a document of what actually happened from a landlord’s point of view. You should always be ready to defend yourself, or your landlord, or the owner, from a potential lawsuit.
Why Are Apartment Incident Reports So Important?
One of the hazards of owning property is that, eventually, something will happen. Someone will slip and fall, or crash a car, and one of the parties will turn to the owner of that property for compensation. It just goes with the territory.
That’s why you need to document what happened in a timely fashion from the owner’s point of view. You must capture key information and statements from witnesses or people that were actually involved before they disappear and you can’t find them later on.
These forms also allow risk management staff to react quickly and get involved. You can mitigate potential damages by talking with the folks that are involved and making sure everybody’s okay. You can get a sense of their mindsets and take appropriate action.
In addition, these forms can put insurance companies on notice. In case of a potential loss, your insurance companies and carriers will want a chance to react. And this is another opportunity to mitigate risk and settle potential claims before they go to court. That’s the most expensive option for everybody.
Instant reports are the key for all of the above. You can make sure that you’re capturing what actually happened and give yourself a chance to mitigate potential costs to the property.
What Should Be in Apartment Incident Reports?
That said, incident reports must be facts-only. Try not to express opinions about what you think happened or whose fault you think it was. You want to capture the facts, date, time, location, and people involved.
If someone files a police report, for example, you should note that you need to follow up for the report number. You can also note if an ambulance was called, if an ambulance was refused, and other relevant information.
Further, you’ll want photos of all areas that were involved in the incident. You want to try to capture statements from witnesses and their signatures.
And there’s other information you might not think about. What was the weather like that day? Was it raining? If somebody slipped and fell, what footwear were they wearing? What eyewear were they wearing? This is why having an incident report process and a thorough form established beforehand is really important.
Leonardo247’s Reporting System Saves Time & Reduces Risk
With a system like Leonardo247, all of that is done electronically. Because writing things on paper and stuffing reports in a folder somewhere is a really bad way to mitigate risk.
In addition, if you’re tracking your incident reports in a system like Leo, you can track the types of incidents that occur over time, as well as the value of those incidents. And if you have a large portfolio, you can see regional portfolio trends as well.
All of these are reasons why instant reports belong in a digital environment and not in an Excel spreadsheet or on a clipboard. Your team should be able to create and submit an incident report at any time. Every time something happens that could result in property damage, injury, or other liability concerns, there should be an incident report.
Even if the parties involved seem to want to let things go and no one is seriously injured, people change their minds. Also, lawyers get ahold of residents sometimes and change their minds.
Timely Reports Are Your Best Protection
Filing an incident report to establish what happened from the owner’s point of view in a timely fashion, just in case something comes along later on and you need that information, is your best protection.
Again, it needs to be done right away. Facts fade in people’s minds, and opportunities to capture statements from witnesses disappear. And time also robs you of the opportunity to mitigate potential damages or negotiate settlements out of court.
The faster you can have those discussions, the more likely you are to be successful in reducing the ultimate cost of an incident to the property’s bottom line.