If you are injured in a truck accident, destroying evidence from the truck crash may be a huge blow to your case. Truck companies are required to keep certain records for a particular period of time, although some may violate those rules in order to get rid of physical evidence that may place liability for an accident with the driver or company.
Your truck accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale may request that the company preserve certain records or evidence to keep them from being destroyed.
Laws Pertaining to Destruction of Evidence in Truck Crashes
Keep in mind that trucking companies are allowed to destroy some records, but only after a certain period of time. Regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require that trucking companies retain truck driver logs ( records of duty) for at least six months, for instance.
What’s more, drivers are required to keep a copy of his or her record of duty for the past seven days in his or her possession while on duty so they are available for inspection if necessary.
Even though these federal laws are in place to prevent companies from destroying certain evidence in truck crashes, it does not always mean that the company will abide by them. Some companies delete the evidence immediately following an accident to remove themselves from any liability.
Another piece of evidence that may be relevant to an accident involving a large truck is the GPS or black box information that some trucks may carry.
There is a lot of data on these devices that trucking companies may not want your Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer to find:
- seat belt use;
- braking patterns; and
- how long the driver has been on the road can all be incriminating.
It can demonstrate that the driver was speeding or even that he or she was driving for too long a time and was possibly fatigued at the time of the accident. Fortunately, there may be a means to prevent trucking companies from deleting this evidence.
Sending a Spoliation Letter to the Trucking Company
To prevent the destruction of records either legally or illegally, your attorney may send a letter to the trucking company requesting the preservation of certain evidence.
This is called a spoliation letter and it requests:
- preservation of truck driver records;
- record of duty status;
- black box information;
- GPS information;
- maintenance records;
- the driver’s qualification file; and
- other documents and records that may be used in your claim.
Contacting a Truck Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Destroying evidence in truck crashes in hopes of deleting any signs of liability (or criminal activity) is illegal. If you were a truck accident victim, a truck accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help you obtain the evidence needed to prove your case. The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can help you recover compensation for your damages and can assist in preventing trucking companies from destroying evidence in truck crash cases. Contact us today at (954) 522-5800.