Being involved in a truck accident in Northern Arizona can be a life-altering event, resulting in severe injuries that can limit your ability to work and your quality of life. Determining the cause of a truck crash is a complex process. You need to retain an experienced Flagstaff truck accident attorney who can send the trucking company a spoliation letter and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
Why a Spoliation Letter Is Important
A spoliation letter is a crucial legal document sent by your skilled truck collision lawyer to the trucking company that hired the trucker. This letter notifies the company of your intent to seek legal action and requests the preservation of all relevant evidence related to the wreck.
The purpose of the spoliation letter is to ensure that critical evidence is not destroyed, altered, or tampered with, as it can significantly impact the outcome of your case. The trucking company can face harsh consequences if they destroy or alter documents after receiving your attorney's spoliation letter.
Types of Evidence Your Flagstaff Lawyer Will Request in a Spoliation Letter
Your attorney will need to thoroughly investigate the cause of your truck crash. Trucking companies and truck drivers must follow strict Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations put in place to prevent truck collisions. Violations of these rules could have caused or contributed to your wreck. Sending a spoliation letter is critical because the trucking company will have much of the evidence you need to prove your case and will not voluntarily turn this information over to you.
Documents and Evidence Your Lawyer May Want Preserved
- Truck driver logs. Your attorney will request the truck driver's logs containing important information about driving hours, rest breaks, and adherence to federal regulations. These records can help determine if the driver was fatigued or violated hours of service regulations.
- Receipts. The trucker could have falsified their driver logs to make it look as if they took rest breaks required under hours of service regulations. Receipts and documents related to the trip, such as fuel purchases, toll receipts, and weigh station records, can provide valuable insights into the truck driver's actions and the truck's movements and routes taken. This information can help your lawyer determine the cause of the crash and whether the trucker or trucking company broke any FMCSA rules.
- Computer and black box data. Modern commercial trucks have event data recorders, commonly called "black boxes." These devices store crucial data such as speed, braking patterns, and engine diagnostics. Retrieving this information can provide essential details about the truck driver's actions leading up to the accident.
- Shipper documents. The documents related to the cargo being transported, including bills of lading, loading manifests, and shipping instructions, can help determine if improper loading or securing of the load played a role in the truck accident.
- Truck inspection and maintenance records. Truck drivers must conduct pre-and post-trip inspections of their trucks. Trucking companies also must inspect, maintain, and repair their fleet of trucks under federal rules. Maintenance records, repair logs, and inspection reports are essential in establishing whether the truck was properly maintained and if any mechanical failures or maintenance issues contributed to the collision.
- Dashcam video. If available, your attorney will request any dashcam footage from the truck involved in the accident. This visual evidence can clearly depict what the trucker was doing moments before the wreck.
- Dispatch records. Dispatch records can help establish the timeline of events, including communication between the truck driver and the trucking company, which may be relevant in determining liability.
- Trucker's personnel file. Obtaining the truck driver's personnel file can reveal their employment history, training records, and any disciplinary actions taken against them, shedding light on their qualifications and competency and the trucking company's hiring practices.
- Drug and alcohol test results. Your attorney will request drug and alcohol test results conducted on the truck driver following the accident, as impaired driving can be a significant factor in truck accidents. They will also review other drug and alcohol test results to determine if the trucker had an alcohol or drug abuse problem.
- Accident report, videos, and pictures. Gathering the official accident report, as well as any photographs or videos taken at the scene, can provide critical evidence that can help your lawyer or an accident reconstruction expert determine how the crash occurred.
- Truck company's procedures. Reviewing the truck company's policies and procedures can help determine if any negligence, negligent hiring practices, or violations of safety protocols contributed to the accident.
- Texts, emails, and cellphone records. Your attorney will request access to any relevant communications, such as texts, emails, and cellphone records, to investigate distractions or potential negligence on the truck driver's part. These records may also establish how the trucking company encouraged the trucker to violate FMCSA safety regulations.
If You’ve Been Injured, Contact Our Flagstaff Truck Accident Attorneys Today
Once you take the important first step of consulting with a personal injury attorney, you will have an ally who will help you navigate the journey from investigation to the final result—and who will argue vigorously to ensure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
The lawyers of Griffen & Stevens have the expertise and the determination to make sure you are not taken advantage of after a truck accident. And because we work on a contingency basis, you don’t pay us unless we win your case. If you’ve been hurt, contact us for your free consultation.