How Do Attorneys Preserve Evidence in an Injury Case?

shredded evidenceThe burden of proof in an injury case is on the victim, which means you need strong evidence to prove another party’s negligence caused your injuries and damages. Unfortunately, evidence can be lost, tampered with or even destroyed as more and more time passes. That is why it is important to take steps to help preserve evidence, including contacting an attorney.

Our personal injury attorneys in Sacramento understand the importance of preserving evidence and know how to do it to help strengthen your case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Below, we discuss some of the common steps attorneys and injury victims may take to help preserve evidence for an accident claim.

What is the Spoliation of Evidence?

Spoliation of evidence refers to the deliberate or accidental destruction of evidence that is relevant to a legal case. Evidence becomes either unusable or its value to the case has been diminished. Spoliation of evidence could occur in a variety of injury cases, including those involving car crashes, slip and fall accidents and dog bites, among other types of accidents.

For example, if a rental car or scooter is returned after an accident and fixed or cleaned up, evidence may be lost.

Other examples of evidence that can be spoliated include physical evidence, such as:

  • Photos
  • Documents
  • Damage to a vehicle
  • Device the victim was injured on
    • Equipment
    • Chair / Stool
    • Bike / Scooter

Physical evidence can be lost, destroyed or even tampered with.

Are There Consequences for Purposeful Spoliation?

There can be serious consequences for parties who purposefully allow the spoliation of evidence in a case. Especially if that spoliated evidence could have harmed the party’s case. Courts often penalize parties that tamper with evidence that may help or hurt a case.

Because of the serious consequences for the purposeful spoliation of evidence, it is important to have someone on your side who understands the legal duties the liable party has for preserving evidence that may help your claim.

What Steps Can Be Taken to Prevent Spoliation?

There are several steps you and your attorney can take to prevent the spoliation of evidence that matters to your case:

  • Filing a police report
  • Taking photos at the scene
  • Seeing a doctor as soon as possible
  • Keeping a journal to document your pain level

Since most of this involves physical evidence, you should be sure to keep backups of digital photos and make copies of documents from your doctor, as well as other physical evidence.

Steps your attorney can take may include:

  • Anti-Spoliation Letters – If the opposing party has evidence that your attorney believes is important to your case, your lawyer may be able to send an anti-spoliation letter making that party aware that the evidence is important and cannot legally be tampered with or destroyed.
  • Witness Statement Affidavits – You can get witness contact information at the scene of a crash, and perhaps even a short statement from him or her. Your attorney may be able to take this one step further and get a signed statement from the witness stating what he or she saw so it may be submitted to the official record.
  • Depositions – Although an affidavit is helpful for written statements, an attorney may be able to take preserving witness testimony one step further in the form of a deposition.

The circumstances of each case are unique, but our attorneys have decades of experience helping injury victims preserve evidence to build strong cases for compensation. It would be in your best interest to discuss your claim with one of our knowledgeable attorneys to learn about the options that may be available to you.

Call To Schedule a Free Consultation

If you were injured in an accident due to another driver’s negligent actions, you may be eligible for compensation. Let our experienced attorneys help you file a claim and gather the necessary evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.

The consultation is free and there are no fees unless we win.

Call 916-777-7777 to schedule a free consultation today.