If you are injured in a truck accident, the trucking company could have the evidence you need to prove their negligence in causing your crash. Unfortunately, they could try to destroy documents you will need—and that they are required to keep under federal regulations—in an effort to weaken your case against them. However, you can take steps to stop them from doing this—if you act quickly.
Laws Prohibiting Trucking Companies From Getting Rid of Evidence
Both the truck driver and trucking company must follow federal regulations enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSA) designed to promote truck safely and prevent truck accidents. Under these regulations, trucking companies must retain documents for a certain length of time before destroying them. For example, trucking companies are prohibited from destroying truck driver log books, trip receipts and other records for six months. Other records, like the truck driver personnel records and truck maintenance records, must be maintained for much longer.
Although it is against the law to get rid of documents, the trucking company may do this anyway to prevent you from proving their liability to compensate you for your injuries. Another strategy they may employ is to drag out the settlement negotiations beyond the six months they are required to keep records so that they can legally dispose of them.
How to Stop the Trucking Company From Destroying Records You Need
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent the trucking company from destroying vital evidence. Your first step should be to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your truck collision. They can send the trucking company a spoliation letter to stop their illegal actions. Here is why sending this letter right away is so important:
- The spoliation letter puts the trucking company and trucker on notice that you have a claim for compensation against them. FMCSA regulations prohibit them from destroying evidence that could affect your case once they receive this letter.
- Your attorney will demand that the trucking company not destroy and turn over specific documents that could help you when filing your claim.
- If the trucking company gets rid of evidence after receiving your attorney’s letter, they could face harsh consequences. Once you file a lawsuit against them, the judge could rule that there is a presumption that the destroyed documents are helpful to your case.
Are you afraid that the trucking company will destroy evidence you need to prove their liability for your truck accident? Do you need help fighting with their insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.