Being in any type of accident can be devastating. However, passenger vehicles that are involved in a commercial truck accident can suffer extreme destruction. Here we explain what a letter of spoliation is and how it preserves evidence in a truck accident case.
Why Are Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Truck accidents are oftentimes more dangerous and catastrophic than regular passenger vehicle crashes. According to the Riverside truck accident attorneys at Bentley & More LLP, this is due to the fact that commercial trucks weigh significantly more than regular passenger cars. A loaded truck can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. Passenger vehicles weigh 4,000 pounds on average. This drastically different weight class means that a passenger vehicle (and its occupants) can suffer major damage if involved in a collision with a commercial semi-truck.
What is a Letter of Spoliation?
A letter of spoliation is a legal document sent by an attorney to an opposing party. In a truck accident case, this letter is often sent to the trucking company and its insurance provider. A letter of spoliation will notify the at-fault party that a claim against them is being filed and warns against tampering with evidence related to the accident.
This is crucial in an accident case as evidence is a main factor in proving liability, and it can be destroyed or tampered with if a letter of spoliation is not sent. In the absence of a spoliation letter, the trucking company can intentionally or unintentionally tamper with evidence and claim that they did not know a claim was being pursued, thus they did not preserve any evidence.
If spoliation of evidence occurs after a letter of spoliation has been sent, it can often strengthen the injury victim’s case. If the truck driver or trucking company fails to preserve important evidence, this could be suspicious and signify that the evidence in question signified their fault.
Important Evidence in a Truck Accident Case
There are specific pieces of evidence that you can request to be preserved in a letter of spoliation. Types of evidence that are specifically vital to a truck accident case include:
- Pictures taken at the scene of the accident
- The truck driver’s hours of service log
- Repair records, maintenance reports, and inspection reports
- Permit and licensing information
- Information on the load of the truck
- Black box data (contains a wide variety of information on the truck including, speed, steering angles, force of impact, tire pressure, airbag deployment times, and more.)
- Driver qualifications
All of these pieces of evidence are important when filing a claim and proving the truck driver or trucking company are the at-fault party.
After an Accident
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial truck it’s important to remain calm and retain an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to draft and send a letter of spoliation to the trucking company in order to preserve evidence and obtain records that will be crucial to your case.