If you want to succeed in a personal injury claim following a serious car or truck accident, then you’re going to have to present persuasive legal arguments to support your position. These arguments need to be supported by evidence, which means that you need to be diligent and comprehensive as you gather the information that you need.
This is easier said than done. After all, many parties that can be held accountable through a personal injury claim know that they’re at risk, which means that they sometimes act in inappropriate ways in an attempt to protect themselves. Therefore, as you start to navigate your claim, you’ll want to do everything you can to try to preserve evidence.
Preserving evidence in a truck accident case
Evidence preservation issues are often seen in truck accident cases because truck companies have a lot to lose. These companies are required by federal regulations to keep and maintain certain records that could be pivotal to your case. Amongst them are the following:
- Trucker logs
- Trucker substance abuse test results
- Trucker medical records
- Inspection reports
- Maintenance records
Getting your hands on these records can be key to your case. For example, a trucker’s log may show that he or she failed to abide by hours of service regulations. Inspection and maintenance reports may demonstrate that a truck company failed to make necessary repairs before letting an unsafe truck back on the road. So, make sure that you’re taking a holistic approach when it comes to gathering this evidence.
How truck companies try to block your access to crucial evidence
As mentioned above, though, truck companies sometimes act inappropriately to try to block your access to key information. They may do this by taking any of the following actions:
- Ignoring your requests to produce documentation
- Storing records in hard to reach facilities, thereby delaying your access to them
- Losing records, or at least claiming to have lost them
- Destroying records
- Falsifying records in order to shield themselves from liability
Any of these actions could derail your personal injury case. So, what can you do to protect your interests in these situations?
Your first step may be to send a letter to the truck company letting it know that it needs to preserve evidence related to your case. This letter puts the truck company on notice that you’re going to be seeking certain evidence from them, and that intentional destruction or alteration of these records could be grounds for additional legal action.
Once you’ve sent that letter, then you can begin assessing the best way to get access to those records. Your best bet is to probably send formal discovery to the truck company, including requests for production of documents and subpoenas for relevant records. Depositions may be helpful, too, if you’re going to be dealing with testimony from the truck company’s employees.
Use the legal process to your advantage
There are a lot of logistics to the legal process. It can be confusing and overwhelming, but you have to be able to competently and confidently navigate them if you want to maximize your chances of succeeding on your claim.