November Town Hall | What are the most successful ways to investigate a damage and defend yourself?

damage investigation Nov 21, 2022

November Town Hall | What are the most successful ways to investigate a damage and defend yourself?


Moderator: Jim Proszek, Attorney, Hall Estill


  • A.J. Clark, Locate Solutions Manager, Badger Daylighting
  • Anthony Jorgenson, Attorney, Jorgenson PLLC
  • Fred LeSage, Senior Risk Engineer, AXA XL
  • Brian Tooley, Project Manager, Mitchell Engineering, a JSI Company

According to the 2021 DIRT Report, there were 203,618 damages in the United States and Canada last year. The annual estimated societal cost to the United States from these damages approaches $30 billion. These numbers can be quite eye-opening and with an average of 557 utility damages occurring daily, you don’t want to be on the hook.

As discussed in this Excavation Safety Alliance Town Hall that took place on November 10th, it is not a matter of if there will be a utility damage, but when. That being said, it is in your best interest to put in place proactive measures to avoid these situations as much as possible, but to also have an ironclad process in place when a damage inevitably does occur. Our moderator and panelists brought their varied backgrounds (legal, insurance, engineering, locating) and wealth of experience to tackle questions including these:

  • What are some of things you can do before a damage occurs?
  • What are the best practices for photographing a damage?
  • Are there any other important documents you should be preserving?
  • How do you manage a damage when it occurs?
  • What other tools can be helpful?
  • How long should you keep the evidence you have collected?
  • How do you identify important witnesses?

Our ESA members brought up some quite interesting points on the current pitfalls in the system. Below are a couple of those:

“Why can't the pics taken by the locator be given to excavator prior to excavation?”

- Kemp Garcia,  Linescape of WA, LLC

“It would be great to provide 2-way communication capabilities via Positive Response... so an excavator can provide responses back to the locator/operator. We refer to this as Enhanced Positive Response.”

- Susan Bohl, OKIE811

Want to view the full ESA November Town Hall for yourself and hear exactly what our panelists had to say? Click HERE! We encourage you to participate in future ESA Town Halls and to suggest topics of interest to YOU. Want to attend an in-person Town Hall? Join us for the annual Global Excavation Safety Conference. For more details and to register, visit

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