In an average vehicle accident, evidence showing how the accident happened can come from a variety of sources. Statements from other drivers, police reports, witness testimonies, damaged property, traffic camera footage, and so much more are available to help prove what occurred and who’s at fault. Spoliation of evidence can hinder a vehicle accident case in very significant ways. When an 18-wheeler or large commercial truck is involved, though, the number of sources of evidence largely increases. This is why it’s best to hire an experienced truck accident attorney to ensure evidence remains preserved and isn’t intentionally destroyed by the trucking company at fault.
How can a truck accident attorney help prevent spoliation of evidence?
Your attorney can send a spoliation of evidence letter to the trucking company or their insurance company. This letter warns the trucking company not to destroy evidence related to your case. Evidence can include:
- The truck: Depending on the amount of damage it sustained, after the accident, the truck may be taken out of use. If the truck is towed, the trucking company can immediately claim the vehicle, repair it, and put it back out on the road. This is why it’s important that you take photos at the scene of an accident. In case you need something to look back on because a spoliation of evidence letter was not produced.
- Data from the truck: Many trucks are equipped with technology to track things like speed and braking. Your truck accident lawyer can use this information to determine if the driver was at fault. It’s important to know that time is limited for gathering this data. Once the truck has been repaired and gets back on the road, the data you need to support could be gone.
- Trucking company records: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict requirements for record keeping, including drivers logs, the drivers personnel file, and post-accident drug tests.
Some trucking companies may intentionally destroy or hide evidence to avoid responsibility for the accident. Others, especially larger companies, destroy evidence or allow it to disappear through the course of regular business. If a spoliation of evidence letter was sent but the evidence gets destroyed, the court can instruct the jury to assume the destroyed evidence would have been unfavorable to the party that tampered with it.
For trucking accident victims that are severely injured, preserving evidence is incredibly important. It could mean the difference between the victim getting compensation or recovering nothing at all. Even if the truck driver claims he or she is not responsible, the truck’s black box may tell a different story.
For help with your truck accident case, consult an experienced truck accident attorney at The Clardy Law Firm.