After being involved in an accident with a semi-truck, it is natural to want some time to recuperate. But while you are resting, the party at fault for your accident could be destroying potential pieces of evidence necessary for you to win a case against them. This is why your truck accident lawyer should send a spoliation letter immediately.


What is a spoliation letter?


A spoliation letter is a written request that the injured person or their legal representative sends to the truck driver or the company employing them following an accident. The letter asks the trucking company to preserve specific pieces of potential evidence.

Upon receipt, the trucking company is legally obligated to preserve the information mentioned in the letter, including driver logbooks and vehicle inspection reports. A spoliation letter encompasses both electronic versions of these documents and hard copies. It is also known as a “preservation letter.”


Why should I send a Spoliation letter?


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes rules that legally require trucking companies to maintain specific records regarding vehicle maintenance and driver hours. However, trucking companies can destroy these records after the legally mandated period expires. This means that, depending on your lawsuit timeline, the at-fault trucking company might destroy vital evidence before you can request it during the discovery phase of your case. To address this issue, your attorney can send a letter of spoliation, ensuring the company preserves all requested documents until your lawsuit is resolved, regardless of the time it takes for the case to proceed in court.


What is in it? 


A spoliation letter should formally request the preservation of specific pieces of potential information. Moreover, merely stating, “Please preserve all pieces of evidence relating to the accident,” is insufficient. Instead, the spoliation letter must provide an itemized list of evidence you believe will be useful at trial.

In addition, a truck accident lawyer knows to send a proper spoliation letter, ensuring no crucial pieces of potential evidence are overlooked. Importantly, you should send all spoliation letters promptly after an accident, necessitating a swift selection of an attorney.


What evidence does it preserve? 


A spoliation letter can preserve important documents related to a wreck. Depending on the case and factors contributing to the incident, you may request the preservation of the following:

– Driver’s logbooks for tracking hours, breaks, and off-duty periods
– On-board computer records
– Dispatch logs
– Driver’s daily vehicle inspection reports
– Government inspection reports for the truck and trailer
– Vehicle maintenance records
– Bills of lading (receipts for loaded/unloaded goods)
– Trucking company handbook explaining policies
– Trucking company safety records
– Employee records for the driver
– Investigative records, photographs, and videos post-accident
– Results from post-accident employee drug tests

Having this information is crucial for a successful case. Sending a spoliation letter ensures potential evidence is preserved, eliminating worries about loss. For example, if a collision occurs due to a semi truck’s brake failure at an intersection, access to damaged truck parts is necessary for evidence. The timely sending of a spoliation letter allows for obtaining necessary evidence for court, even if the truck is repaired and used during the case’s duration.


What if the truck company destroys evidence after receiving the letter? 


The trucking company may have the right to destroy certain records as part of normal business operations. However, once you send a spoliation letter, the company is legally obligated to preserve these records. Additionally, sending a spoliation letter can benefit your case without any potential harm.

Moreover, if the company disregards your request to preserve evidence, the court may interpret it as an act of bad faith. Consequently, the court may impose severe consequences on the trucking company during the trial.

In some instances, the court may determine that the destruction of evidence alone indicates that the documents contained information that could have been detrimental to the trucking company if presented in court. As a result, you may automatically satisfy one or all of the elements necessary for a successful trial outcome.


Let Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Co. L.P.A. Send on Your Behalf


After being involved in a semi-truck accident, the road to recovery can be long and difficult. But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to navigate the aftermath alone. That’s where the attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Co. L.P.A. come in. We understand the significance of a letter of spoliation and how it can be crucial evidence in achieving success in a truck accident case. By contacting our experienced truck accident attorneys, we can provide more information about how our services can help prevent the at-fault trucking company from destroying important documents related to the case. You don’t have to face this alone – reach out for assistance. Call (419) 843-6663 or use our convenient online contact form.

If you reside in or around any of the areas we serve in Ohio and Michigan – MaumeeDefiance, Fremont, Findlay, Lima, Mansfield, Toledo, and Monroe – a truck accident lawyer at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death case after your accident.