A spoliation letter should be sent to a trucking company as soon as possible after an accident involving an 18-wheeler or other commercial vehicle. “Spoliation” of evidence is the destruction, loss, alteration or concealment of evidence. Intentional spoliation of evidence is a violation of law.
A Spoliation Letter Puts the Trucking Company on Notice
The spoliation letter puts the trucking company on notice that an accident victim has a claim against the company and that the company is responsible for preserving evidence that may be used to prove that claim. This responsibility is a legal “duty,” and a court (a judge) can severely sanction a trucking company for destroying or tampering with evidence after it receives a spoliation letter.
Lists Types of Evidence to Preserve
A spoliation letter specifically states that it is giving notice and then lists specific types of evidence that must be preserved. Examples of evidence that might be listed in a spoliation letter sent by an accident victim’s attorney to a trucking company and its insurance company include the following:
- The tractor and trailer involved in the crash;
- Permits and licenses covering the vehicle or freight on the day of the accident;
- The semi truck driver’s daily logs (a “diary” of each hour spent on the road and “resting” required by law to prevent driver’s from getting too tired);
- Inspection reports for the tractor (semi cab) and trailer involved in the collision;
- Maintenance records for the tractor and trailer;
- The semi truck driver’s qualification file;
- Photographs, video, etc. of the vehicles (all of the vehicles, not just the tractor-trailer) involved in the accident, the scene of the accident, etc.;
- The truck driver’s alcohol and drug testing results;
- Contracts involving the commercial truck and freight;
- Data from on-board recording devices.
These are just a few of the many items which would be included in a spoliation letter. Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman are two of our lead lawyers for these cases. You can call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) to call them for your free consultation.