32 CFR 537.8 - Investigation.

§ 537.8 Investigation.

(a)Claims over $50,000. Hands-on investigation will be conducted by claims personnel as set forth in DA Pam 27-162, Chapter 2, Section IV, regardless of the amount of insurance coverage immediately available, with a view to discovery of other sources of recovery, for example, vehicle defects or improper maintenance, road design and absence of warning signs, products liability, medical malpractice in civilian treatment facilities. Where the employment of experts is indicated follow the procedures in § 536.39 of this chapter. No attorney representation agreement will be sent to the injured party's representative without USARCS approval.

(b)Claims of $50,000 or less. The amount of hands-on investigative effort is directly related to the amount of insurance coverage that the tortfeasor possesses and the amount of coverage that the injured party has. Where the injured party is represented, request information from his lawyer or insurer, in addition to the documents obtained in initial screening. The ACO should be able to form an independent opinion as to liability based on the investigation of the government and not solely on that of the injured party's attorney.

(c)Claims of $5,000 or less. Small claims procedures are applicable to the extent feasible. See § 536.33 of this chapter. Investigation, assertion and settlement by e-mail, phone or fax is encouraged. The investigation and action should be recorded. DA Form 1668, Small Claims Certificate, may be used as a model, modifying it as needed. A sample completed Small Claims Certificate is posted at USARCS Web site for the address see the Note to § 537.1.

(d)Relations with injured party.

(1) When the injured party becomes known and an interview can be conducted locally, all relevant facts will be obtained unless the injured party is represented by a lawyer. In this latter event, basic information as set forth on DD Form 2527, Statement of Personal Injury (a completed sample is posted at the USARCS Web site; for the address see the Note to § 537.1) can be obtained without violating lawyer-client privilege. If the injured party is not immediately available, the information can be obtained by requesting assistance from another ACO, a unit claims officer, a reservist or Army National Guard (ANG) member, another federal agency, or another means.

(2) When the injured party is represented, a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) medical release form (sample posted at the USARCS Web site; see § 537 (b)(4)) permitting USARCS to send out the medical records of the injured party for claims purposes, will be sent to the injured party's lawyer for completion and return.

(3) When the injured party or his or her lawyer refuses to furnish necessary information, it can usually be obtained by other means, for example, from an accident report or investigation. A notice will be furnished to all parties that the government has been assigned the right to bring a claim for the value of medical care furnished, lost pay or value of property lost or destroyed, and that the United States has the right to bring an independent cause of action. In absence of timely and appropriate response, discuss with the AAO to determine what action should be taken.