Spoliation Letters For A Truck Accident
Automobile Accidents - April 21, 2021
Accidents involving large commercial trucks are often devastating for those involved, and it is crucial that a thorough investigation be conducted after these incidents. There is usually a significant amount of evidence that needs to be obtained when working to determine liability for a commercial truck crash. However, it is not uncommon for evidence in these cases to be altered or even disappear altogether. Sometimes, evidence tampering is unintentional, but other times the destruction of evidence is intentional in order to obscure liability. Here, we want to talk about the process of ensuring that all evidence is preserved after an Illinois truck crash. Particularly, we want to discuss a letter of spoliation and how this can help ensure all parties know the importance of preserving any evidence related to a crash.
What is a Letter of Spoliation in Illinois?
A letter of spoliation is a document sent to all of the parties involved in a commercial truck crash that puts them on notice about a potential civil claim and reminds them of their duty not to destroy any evidence related to the potential claim.
Under Illinois law, there is no general rule that requires any parties involved in a potential civil claim to preserve evidence. However, a duty to preserve evidence could arise through an agreement, contract, statute, or other special circumstance, and parties involved may also voluntarily assume a duty to preserve evidence in certain situations.
When there is an agreement, contract, statute, or other special circumstance, the parties involved owe a duty of care to preserve evidence “if a reasonable person in defendant’s position should have foreseen that the evidence was material to a potential civil action” (Boyd, 116 Ill. 2d at 195, 652 N.E.2d at 270).
Why do You Need a Spoliation Letter After a Truck Crash?
The aftermath of a commercial truck crash in Illinois can become very complicated for those involved. Often, there is much more evidence that needs to be gathered and preserved than there is for a traditional vehicle accident, including the following:
- The truck’s electronic logging device
- The truck’s electronic control module
- The driver’s cell phone data
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Truck company dispatch records
- Maintenance records
- Accident reports
- Paper logbooks
- Truck company employment records
- The truck company safety record
- The driver’s safety records
- Any video or audio recordings of the driver or incident
- Any debris from the incident
- The vehicles involved
- …and more
A letter of spoliation does not have to be incredibly detailed in these situations, but it needs to get the point across that a plaintiff (injury victim) and their attorney fully expect all evidence to be preserved.
Who is Responsible for Sending a Letter of Spoliation?
It is crucial for any truck crash victim in Illinois to work with a skilled attorney in these circumstances. A truck accident lawyer in Chicago can use their resources and legal expertise to conduct a complete investigation into the crash. An attorney will also be responsible for sending a letter of spoliation to all other parties involved. A truck crash lawyer will have a deep understanding of the language that needs to be present in these situations in order for a letter spoliation to have the force of law.