All successful personal injury claims are backed by strong, carefully documented supporting evidence. Without the evidence to prove liability and establish damages, a plaintiff will struggle to recover the full and fair financial compensation that they rightfully deserve.
Of course, collecting the evidence presents some challenges. In many cases, the key evidence is held by another party. You may be wondering: How do you make sure that all parties preserve the relevant evidence?Here, our personal injury lawyers discuss a useful legal tool: the spoliation letter.
A spoliation letter is a notice to another party—most often an opposing party—that requests the preservation of relevant evidence. These letters are often used in cases where the defendant holds evidence that is material to the claim. As an example, in tractor-trailer accident cases, the trucking company will possess a wide range of records, reports, and other evidence that is material to the claim. A letter of spoliation will request (demand) the preservation of this evidence.
It should be made clear that a defendant in a personal injury claim has a generalized obligation to preserve evidence when litigation is pending or litigation is likely. Unfortunately, in reality, they do not always do so.
A spoliation letter is an important tool because after a certain period of time, defendants may be able to get rid of certain forms of evidence. By sending a professionally drafted spoliation letter, you will be more likely to get access to the evidence and you will be in a better position to pursue remedies if the defendant destroys or loses relevant information.
If you are preparing to send a spoliation letter to a defendant—whether it is a trucking company, a property owner, or a third party to the case—it is crucial that you prepare a well-crafted legal document. Here are three tips to help you put together an effective letter of spoliation:
In a spoliation letter, it should be made clear that litigation is pending or that litigation may be pending in the very near future. Let the defendant know that this is a legal matter and that they have a duty to preserve evidence.
In spoliation letters, specificity is valuable. To the extent that you know what evidence needs to be preserved, it is generally best to describe that evidence within the letter.
You are not alone in the claims process. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you draft a spoliation letter that properly protects your rights and interests.
At Richmond Vona, LLC, our personal injury lawyers offer aggressive, experienced legal advocacy to our clients. We will help you maximize your financial compensation. If you need help preserving evidence, our legal team is here for you. To schedule a no fee, no obligation personal injury consultation, please contact us today. From our office in Buffalo, we represent injured victims all over the region, including in Erie County, Monroe County, Livingston County, and Orleans County.