When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, the evidence is needed to prove that neglect played a role in the injuries that were sustained. In some cases, the cause of the injuries can be very hard to prove. This is especially true in cases in which evidence is destroyed prior to being collected by law enforcement or attorneys. Here, you'll learn a little about Spoliation of Evidence letters and how they can help your case.
What is a Spoliation of Evidence letter?
The definition of spoliation of evidence is the negligent withholding, altering, destruction, fabrication or removal of evidence that is relevant to a legal case.
The Spoliation of Evidence letter is utilized to prevent the party that may be responsible for the injury from destroying, altering or hiding the evidence that could be used against them. This letter is drawn up and sent to the party to make them aware of the fact that the evidence will need to be collected and that they are legally responsible for ensuring that nothing happens to it in the meantime – they will be held responsible if it is destroyed or altered prior to it being collected.
The recipient of the letter can be sentenced to jail time and be ordered to pay fines if they destroy or attempt to alter the evidence.
What information is included in a Spoliation of Evidence letter?
If you don't include all of the information that is needed in the letter, it will be less effective in assisting you with your case. You must include:
- Names and contact information for anyone who will receive the letter.
- A list of evidence being requested – any video or audio files, computer files, hard drives, log books – anything that could contain evidence about the incident.
- A request that the evidence is protected – this is to make it known that the evidence will be collected at the time of discovery. Make sure to include a request that all computer maintenance procedures be paused because the files could be deleted or contaminated prior to being collected.
Who writes and sends the Spoliation of Evidence letter?
Typically, the lawyer who is representing the injured party will draw up and send the letters. It can be written and sent by the injured party but will have a greater impact if it comes from a legal practice.
Don't waste time. Talk with your personal injury attorneys today about what you can do to stop the contamination and discarding of the evidence that could make your case.