The Importance of Preserving Evidence in a Personal Injury Accident

Spoliation of and Preserving Evidence

The last thing on someone’s mind when they get into an accident is to think about their potential legal case and preserving evidence of the incident.

The priority should be for the person to be getting the care they deserve and not hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit.

However, there are important things you should do if you are in any type of accident.

Collecting Evidence For Your Injury Case

Photographs are incredibly important to document injuries and any property damage to occur.

Names of people who witnessed the events is also important to obtain.

Even if you don’t get their contact information, they still may be able to be tracked down later to give a statement if you have a name.

If you are in an auto or trucking accident, you should be sure to obtain copies of the other involved parties’ insurance information, police report, and driver information exchange document provided by the police.

Saving copies of this information will help preserve information about your case for when you have recovered and have time to consider all of the legal options available to you.

Preserving Legal Evidence

When an accident or injury occurs and a company is involved, there is an obligation to preserve evidence.

However, companies may not take this obligation seriously or may not even know an accident has occurred until they are put on notice of a potential claim.

A common practice once an attorney is involved in your case, is to send what is known as a preservation of evidence letter.

This letter will put the company on notice of a potential claim and prevents the spoliation of evidence.

Spoliation of Evidence

The spoliation of evidence is when a negligent party deliberately, negligently or accidentally destroys or deletes evidence relevant to a potential case.

Examples of evidence that is often subject to spoliation include the following:

  • Photographs
  • Files and Documents
  • Physical objects, tools, vehicles, equipment, etc.
  • Emails, Hard drives, metadata, and other electronically stored information

This evidence is required to be preserved in the anticipation of future litigation.

When Evidence Isn’t Reserved

In the event the evidence is not preserved and the party responsible for preserving the evidence did not take reasonable steps to preserve it, there is a presumption that the lost information was unfavorable to the party who did not preserve it.

If the evidence is involved in a lawsuit, a judge may instruct the jury that it must presume that the information was unfavorable, and in some severe cases, a judge may enter a default judgment against a responsible defendant.

The danger of the spoliation of evidence typically lies with the defendant in a case as the defendant will be the one with access to internal documents and physical evidenced related to the cause of the accident.

However, an injured person and their attorney must also be mindful of their responsibility to preserve and maintain any evidence that the injured person may have as that may be required to be disclosed to the defendant at some point in the case.

Let VanDerGinst Law Help You

Having an attorney on your side early on in your case is important to prevent the willful, negligent, or accidental destruction of evidence that could be crucial to your case.

If you’ve been injured and may have a claim or a question about the spoliation of evidence or any issue related to your case, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at VanDerGinst Law to assist you with your questions.

You can contact us online, or call 800-797-5391.

We would be honored to help.

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The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.