By: Maron Koop, Director of Operations

Did you know algae can survive — even thrive — in gasoline? Its presence can generate water, which can further dilute and damage fuel in gas tanks, ultimately destroying the engine of any machine.

Any water in fuel often results in total engine replacement, which can cost well into five-figures. It’s hard to prove liability in these cases, which leaves individuals and companies footing the repair bill.

When our customers, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, called us with one such claim, we tackled the challenge head-on, proving liability and winning a settlement in full for our client.

Here’s how we did it:

  1. Conducted Research – Prior to contacting the gas station, our team researched the business. We found a recent news story reporting tainted gas sales at the same station, which also mentioned the Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued tickets for the problem to the business. We were also able to locate the insurance adjustor’s contact information, something gas stations rarely give out.
  2. Gathered Supporting Evidence – The insurance company for the gas station did not admit fault, and instead argued spoliation, stating the gas in the vehicle had deteriorated so much by the time the claim reached them, our customer couldn’t prove it was the station’s fault.

Spoliation: The destruction or alteration of evidence resulting from a party’s failure to preserve evidence relevant to a litigation or investigation.

The insurance company even hired an independent investigator to evaluate the vehicle, who stated the vehicle broke down from “normal wear and tear,” not the tainted fuel. Since it can take up to a week for the effects of tainted gasoline to destroy an engine, it’s common for insurance companies to try to use a “wear and tear” tactic.

Our customer knew this wasn’t the case. So, we worked together to gather key evidence, such as:

  1. Receipts
  2. Point of Sale data
  3. A news story
  4. Oklahoma Corporation Commission tickets
  5. Testimonies

This evidence provided key proof for the arbitration panel to make a well- informed decision.

3. Developed Preponderance Argument — Because the gas station’s insurance company wouldn’t admit fault, we started building a preponderance argument, where we began stacking evidence against the gas station. Through all the supporting evidence we gathered, we were able to demonstrate the only logical reason for the vehicle’s breakdown was the tainted fuel.

Preponderance: An evidence standard in burden of proof analyses, where the party with the burden demonstrates there is a greater than 50% chance their claim is true.

The arbitration panel agreed with us and awarded our customer the full settlement amount for the damaged vehicle.

Bottom line? Our team does an outstanding job at understanding the spoliation argument and stacking preponderance of evidence to win a case. When AnSR steps in, the advantage shifts to our innocent customers.

Plus, we’re extra motivated to win because we don’t get paid unless our customer does.

Want to learn more about what every day subrogation opportunities you may be missing? Email us at