What is Evidence Spoliation in Truck Accident Cases?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Kathy McArthur with McArthur Law Firm.
Evidence spoliation is a term used to describe when one party destroys, tampers with, or conceals important evidence in an attempt to protect themselves, often from liability.
Evidence spoliation is particularly prominent in truck accident cases, where the damages sought in a lawsuit tend to be extreme and the type of evidence so specific that only an experienced truck accident lawyer is likely to obtain it. This is why gathering and preserving evidence as soon as possible after any accident involving a large truck or 18-wheeler is crucial to the investigation process. The difficulty is that much of the evidence needed to make or break a truck accident case is in the possession of the trucking companies.
Evidence that may be in danger of spoliation in a truck accident includes but is not limited to the following:
- Truck driver records
- Driving logbook
- Inspection and maintenance reports
- Black box data
- Damaged truck
Each of these elements can play an important role in proving how a truck accident occurred and who is responsible. Unfortunately, unscrupulous trucking companies are aware of this as well, and they have been known to take efforts to hide or tamper with evidence, particularly in regard to driving logs. In some cases, the trucking company may even advise the truck driver to destroy or conceal evidence. This is why it is imperative to have someone experienced with truck accident law attend the scene of the accident right away.
An experienced truck accident attorney can prevent evidence spoliation.
The sooner a truck accident attorney can get to the scene of the accident, the better. Truck accident attorneys can impose a duty to preserve evidence on the involved parties, preventing the intentional spoliation of evidence, and even acquiring important records from the company which the average person cannot. Additional evidence which a truck accident attorney may be able to collect includes witness testimonies and even surveillance footage from nearby cameras that may have captured the wreck on film. Unfortunately, the average lay person is unlikely to know how to put the right kind of legal pressure on a trucking company to collect tamper-free evidence.
If someone is too injured to call after a truck accident, their loved ones may make the call on their behalf.
After a truck accident, it is unfortunately not uncommon for the injured party to be transported to the hospital, too injured to assist in the collection of evidence needed for their recovery. This is when a loved one can choose to contact a truck accident lawyer on the injured party’s behalf, and the accident lawyer will attend the scene of the accident as soon as possible to collect, protect, and preserve important evidence.
If finances are cause for concern at the idea of calling an attorney, it may help to note that these attorneys generally offer free consultations and even work on a contingency fee basis, which means the client does not pay for their services unless and until they win their case. It is important to bring in an attorney as soon as possible after a truck accident, because evidence spoliation tends to happen quickly and can be all but impossible to detect and prevent without the help of a legal professional.
To learn more about evidence spoliation or for help after a truck accident, reach out to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.