After an injury from a truck accident upends your life, the burden falls on you to provide adequate proof that someone else behaved negligently and caused your pain and suffering. The good news is that a qualified attorney can assist in gathering and preserving the evidence you need through the use of a preservation letter.
How a Preservation Letter Helps Your Truck Accident Case
Trucking companies are required by law to keep certain records, such as driver logs that show how long a trucker has been awake on the road. Other crucial data is stored in paper format or electronically, such as hiring details showing that various federal or state requirements were actually met.
Unfortunately, the at-fault party who caused a truck collision has a vested interest in trying to prevent accident victims from acquiring the information they need. It costs someone along the chain a significant amount of money if you have a successful insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Evidence destruction also happens regularly with no malicious intent. A trucking company may end up destroying that data you needed in a regular purge of old documents to make room for new records.
To prevent that from happening, you can send a preservation demand, which is also sometimes referred to as a spoliation letter. The letter’s intent is to provide notice to the trucking company of its legal obligation to preserve evidence. Once they’ve received the letter, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules require them to preserve the requested evidence.
Preservation letters also provide a written record of which specific documents you’ve requested. That helps ensure old data, such as dispatch logs or cargo details, isn’t deleted or shredded before it can be examined by a skilled truck accident lawyer.
You Need an Attorney’s Help in Drafting a Spoliation Letter
A preservation letter has to be very specific to be useful. If you don’t know what kind of information to include, you could easily lose out on critical evidence for your case. That’s why it is important to contact a legal professional as soon as possible after sustaining an injury in a commercial truck crash.
After taking photos of the scene, obtaining contact info from witnesses, and heading to the emergency room, your next step is to get help from a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer. The specific information that your attorney may want to prevent the trucking company from destroying could include:
- Accident reports
- Bills of lading and other details on cargo, such as who loaded the truck
- Cell phone or other communication device data
- Dispatch records
- Driver log books
- ECM, GPS, or PCM data
- Emails or text messages
- Eyewitness statements
- Employment records covering hiring, disciplinary actions, and training
- Service time records
- Vehicle maintenance and repair records
- Video or audio recordings
With these details in hand, along with other evidence gathered from the crash scene, your attorney can find out what caused the accident and who is ultimately liable for your damages. Situations such as log book violations, truckers getting behind the wheel with untreated sleep disorders, lax training procedures, or failure to repair mechanical problems in a timely fashion could all play a role in establishing liability.
From there, your attorney can negotiate for a fair settlement from insurance or present your case to a jury in a personal injury suit. Potential compensation for truck accident injuries can involve medical bills, estimated future costs for additional therapies or surgery, lost income, and the emotional toll of the truck wreck on your life.
Don’t Let the Liable Party Avoid Paying What You Are Owed if You Were Hurt in a Truck Accident
Of course, a spoliation letter is only one element of your overall case. Talk to an attorney for more information on overcoming common defenses from at-fault trucking companies and determining your best path towards a financial recovery.