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Crime Scene Cleanup Questions

Q: What should I expect when I find a deceased tenant inside a unit?
A: When you find a deceased individual on property, a patrolman will initially respond.  In some cases, the Fire Department and EMS will respond.  Detectives and Evidence Technicians will investigate, take pictures, and gather evidence.  Once the scene is released by law enforcement, it will be turned back over to you.  

Q: Why do Homicide Detectives show up when an elderly person just passes away?
A: Whenever someone dies outside of a hospital or nursing home, law enforcement must insure that the death is not a result of a criminal act.  Therefore, Homicide Detectives respond to all unattended death scenes.  

Q: Is it necessary for an autopsy to be performed if an elderly person dies at home of natural causes? 
A: The Medical Examiner, with input from law enforcement and attending physicians, will determine if an autopsy must be performed.  In almost every case an autopsy will be performed if the individual passes away outside of a hospital or nursing home, however, there are a few exceptions.

Q: If there's just a small amount of blood, can I have my maintenance or cleaning staff take care of it?
A: OSHA's Final Rule on Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens prohibits untrained employees from coming into contact with any amount of blood or body fluids.  If your employees have not been trained, received medical counseling, received their vaccinations (or declined them in writing), and have a job description that supports contact with blood or body fluids, they cannot come in contact with or cleanup blood or body fluids.  Under OSHA's Final Rule, the employer must also have Policies and Procedures in place to support and protect employees if they are to come in contact with blood or body fluids.  OSHA Fines for non-compliance can be substantial for company as well as decision makers and managers.

Q: How do I know if I need to contact a professional Crime and Trauma Scene Cleaning Company?
A: There are several types of scenes that always result in blood and/or body floods being present.  If you are a company with untrained employees, you will need to hire a Crime and Trauma Scene Cleaning Company for the following type of scenes.  1) Long-term, unattended death scenes (human decomposition) always have blood and body fluids present.  2) Murder from gun shot, stabbing, cutting have blood which may be in several areas.  3) Suicides by gun shot or cutting have blood which may be in several areas.  4) Death Scenes with associated putrid odor will have blood and body fluid present.  5) Injury or broken vein in a person on blood thinners, will result in a site with a significant amount of blood present. 

Q: Should I do a walk through of the unit to determine if a Crime and Trauma Scene Company should do the cleanup?
A: NO.  Even if you are in a management position, if you are untrained and have not received medical counseling, OSHA restricts you from coming in contact with blood or body fluids.  An experienced, trustworthy, Crime and Trauma Scene Cleaning Company can assess the scene for you and will let you know if their services are required.

Q: How much does it cost to have a death scene cleaned up? 
A: This is kind of like asking a contractor how much it would cost to remodel your bathroom without giving any other information.  Having said that, it is very important to at least have a written estimate before signing any forms.  It is also important to be wary of any company that will give you a price list, and will not give you a quote or estimate.  Several factors must be taken into consideration when determining what the cost of your cleanup will be.  Manner of death, medications, length of time from death to discovery, and the amount of bio-hazard are just a few things the Crime and Trauma Scene Cleaning Company will be looking at to determine the cost of the cleanup.  Odor and structural damage must also be considered.  Crime Clean of Texas Technicians will do a site assessment and put the cost to you in writing.  Our charges for death scenes start at $750.     

Q: Don't all companies charge about the same amount for Crime and Death Scene Cleanup?
A: NO.  Some companies charge $20,000.00 to $30,000.00 or more for what other professional, qualified companies would charge $2,500.00 to $5,000.00 for.  Oftentimes families who hire a company that only gives them a price list end up with some of the highest bills for services. 

Q: Does homeowners insurance pay for death scene cleanup? 
A: In some cases homeowners insurance pays all or part of the charges for death scene or bio-hazard cleanup.  Several factors determine whether the charges will be covered: 1) Policy coverage; 2) Cause of Death; 3) Structural damage/involvement; 4) Personal Property Coverage.  Remember:  Even on covered claims, the insurance company may not pay for excessively high charges and you may be left with a large bill. 

Q: What can people do to protect against predatory companies at such devastating times in their lives?
A: We know that it is very difficult to lose a loved one, and have to deal with a hazardous cleanup too, but you have to be careful not to end up with a bill in the tens-of-thousands of dollars that may result in the loss of your home.  Don't try to do this alone.  Have a trusted friend or relative with you if you need support.  Here is some information that may help you move forward.  1) Remember that the emergency is over once the property has been turned back over to you.  If it's in the middle of the night, and you have just suffered a devastating loss, it's a good idea to secure the property and try to get some rest.  2) Be aware that some predatory companies heavily market Police and Funeral Homes.  3) Call a professional Crime Scene Cleanup company.  4) Get a Quote or Estimate in writing.  5) Read ALL of the contract before you sign anything.  6) Remember:  Only your insurance company knows if all or part of the charges will be covered.  7) If something doesn't feel right, or you can't get a Quote or Estimate, contact a different company.  8) Most importantly, if you are feeling overwhelmed, take some time for yourself.


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