If you know of someone who has been injured in a trucking accident that a trucker caused, or you have experienced this ordeal yourself, then you most likely understand the resulting pain and suffering, as well as the desire to hold the truck driver and trucking company responsible for the driver’s negligent actions.
But while it may seem as if there should be plenty of evidence from the trucking company that could help your claim, some companies will destroy evidence in order to remove blame from themselves. Unfortunately, after certain time periods they can do this in a legal manner.
When can truck companies destroy evidence?
Motor carriers are required to maintain records for a certain time period depending on the records. For example, motor carriers must maintain drivers’ hours of service records for a period of six months. Motor carriers must keep certain inspection and maintenance reports for a year and six months after the vehicle leaves the motor carrier’s control.
Motor carriers must also keep records of alcohol test results that indicate if the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 or higher, as well as tests indicating positive test results. Motor carriers must maintain entry-level driver training certificates for the driver’s period of employment with the company, and then one year after that.
Other time periods apply as well, and truck accident victims should consult their attorney regarding when the trucking company may legally destroy its records.
Why would a trucking company destroy evidence?
To decrease their possible liability, trucking companies often destroy:
- photos or videos of the vehicles used in the accident;
- drug test reports of the driver;
- any failed truck inspection reports; or
- other paper documents that may indicate the driver’s negligence.
Trucking companies are vicariously liable for their employees’ actions, which includes truck drivers who cause accidents. Preventing accident victims from acquiring evidence may benefit the trucking company if the victim is unable to demonstrate the truck driver’s negligence and responsibility for the accident.
How to Preserve Truck Company Records
The concept of spoliation – destroying evidence – may seem like a nearly impossible wall to scale in the event of a trucking accident. Fortunately though, there is a way to prevent the destruction of much of the pertinent evidence in a case by simply sending a letter to the trucking company, stating your purpose, as well as your desires.
Often referred to as a “spoliation letter,” it should contain your name, as well as the name and address of the trucking company; the date and location of the accident, as well as who was killed or injured; and any and all evidence you deem necessary.
Evidence that bears keeping includes:
- the driver’s trucking qualifications;
- inspection reports of the truck, any photographs;
- other media surrounding the crash; or
- even the contents of the truck.
Each of these pieces of evidence could provide a better picture of the crash during an investigation, and may help to better serve your cause.
Contact a Legal Professional Today
Attempting to recover damages from a trucking company can be frustrating, as they often only wish to place the blame elsewhere. For help sending a well-crafted and professional spoliation letter, contact us today at Bressman Law. Our attorneys can examine the specifics of your case, and help you begin filing a claim so that you can recover the compensation you deserve. Call us at 877-538-1116.