Why a Spoliation Letter Matters in Your Truck Accident Case

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Why a Spoliation Letter Matters in Your Truck Accident Case

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Posted By DAM Firm | September 20 2021 | Truck Accidents

Accidents involving large commercial trucks can become immensely complicated, particularly when victims are with trying to recover compensation for their losses. It is crucial to conduct an investigation into all parties involved in order to properly determine liability. A letter of spoliation will be sent by attorneys for truck crash victims almost immediately after a truck crash occurs. Here, our Orange County injury lawyers define a letter of spoliation, discuss why it is important, and talk about what could happen if the parties involved do not take a letter of spoliation seriously. 

A Letter Of Spoliation In California Personal Injury Cases

A Letter of Spoliation in California Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury claims are handled through the civil court system in California. Even though these are not criminal cases (there could also be criminal charges associated with the same incident), it is crucial that all evidence pertaining to the incident be preserved.

As soon as any type of personal injury occurs and a victim secures legal assistance, their attorney will begin gathering evidence. Their attorney will also send a letter of spoliation to all parties involved in order to prevent any evidence from being destroyed, altered, or lost. A letter of spoliation will put every other party on notice that there is a potential civil claim involved with the incident question and that they have a duty not to destroy or alter any evidence that could be related to the claim.

California Civil Jury Instructions 204 “Willful Suppression of Evidence” (CACI 204) shows that juries in a potential personal injury trial will be able to infer that any destroyed or lost evidence was detrimental to the plaintiff (injury victim) and they are allowed use this interference for the benefit of the plaintiff.

Additionally, looking at Evidence Code 413, we see that jurors are allowed to draw whatever inferences that they want regarding why various types of evidence were not provided by the defendant or why the defendant is unable to explain what happened to the potential evidence.

Why Do Truck Crash Victims Need a Letter of Spoliation?

Truck accident claims in California can become incredibly complex for injury victims, particularly when they are working to recover compensation for their injuries and property damage. These incidents typically involve much more evidence than most traditional passenger vehicle crashes. 

In general, we will find that there is much more evidence that has to be gathered in order to prove liability in these cases. More evidence means more opportunities for evidence to disappear or be destroyed. Some of the types of evidence that need to be gathered in a California truck accident claim include the following:

  • The truck’s electronic control module (ECM)
  • Mobile device data
  • The truck’s electronic logging device (ELD)
  • Paper logbooks (if applicable)
  • Truck company dispatch recordings
  • Weigh station receipts
  • Maintenance records
  • Police reports
  • Truck company hiring records
  • Truck company maintenance and inspection records
  • The driver’s safety records
  • Any video recordings of the crash
  • Statements from eyewitnesses to the incident
  • Any debris from the scene

When a letter of spoliation is sent to all parties involved, this will help ensure that the evidence is preserved throughout the entire case. An experienced truck accident lawyer needs to be the one to draft and send a letter of spoliation to every party involved, including the trucking company, the driver, the insurance carriers, and any legal teams.

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