Car Meets Building (It All Went Downhill from There)
damaged CMU wall


An automobile accident turned into a property claim when one of the involved cars was propelled into a commercial building. The building, a warehouse of approximately 5000 square feet, is nestled in-between a series of other buildings, comprising a strip mall. The insurance carrier requested Guardian Group’s assistance not only in verifying cause and determining and quantifying damages but ascertaining the structural integrity of the building. (Photo shows impact on building’s street-facing CMU wall, as well as some police tape.) On claims such as this, for reasons of human safety, liability, and significant cost, carriers, TPAs and adjusters need to know the “impacts of the impact” and for this they rely on the expertise of Guardian’s engineers. The building’s owner had already obtained a repair estimate, an estimate that included substantial structural work.


Upon notice of the claim and equipped with the detailed construction estimate, Guardian’s forensic engineer deployed to the scene. There, he completed a thorough inspection, photographing areas of damage and expected damage. One such photo, displayed above, depicts the unreinforced hollow-core CMUs (concrete masonry units) along the front of the building proximal to the point of impact. While there was little to debate about the cause of the damages, based not only upon the inspection but also the police report and broadcast television news footage which actually included footage of the crash, what was critical, both for safety and the carrier’s determination of coverage (as a matter of policy, Guardian does not opine on issues of coverage) was the enduring structural integrity of the building.


In the aftermath of the accident, one wall had already been covered over with plywood. Damage observations included:  one bent interior handrail of an accessibility ramp, a gouged floor, cracks over the entry door, and bent window framing at the storefront. Ultimately, the lack of cracks at the ceiling near impact, the lack of cracks on neighbors’ (adjacent) interior walls or windows and the overall plumb assessments of the door frame all served together to inform the report’s conclusion: though the car had caused cosmetic damage at the edifice, there was no structural damage to the building.


For complex or otherwise large and high-risk claims, Guardian Group’s Property & Casualty Group provides expert claim investigations and forensic reporting. The specialized expertise of our engineers and building experts helps carriers, TPAs and adjusters resolve their claims with optimal efficiency and confidence. When your residential and commercial property claims require specialized expertise, a skill and experience level which transcends that of the routine adjuster, count on the complex claim experts. Count on Guardian Group. Kindly reach out today.


Thank you!

Your submission is received and we will contact you soon.