Evidence is an essential part of a personal injury case because it helps to prove that the other party acted in a negligent manner and resulted in your injury. If the evidence related to the case is intentionally or unintentionally tampered with, it may ruin your ability to recover compensation.
Here, you can learn more about evidence, what happens if it is destroyed, and what you can do to protect it. Also, if you ever suffer an injury that’s the result of someone else’s negligence, reach out to an personal injury lawyers Youngstown for help.
The Spoliation of Evidence
In the most basic terms, the spoliation of evidence may occur if a party does not preserve evidence in a case or if they willingly destroy it regardless of if litigation has been thought about or if it is currently pending. After litigation has been contemplated or if it is ending, all of the parties involved in the case have the legal obligation to preserve any and all evidence that exists.
If there is one side that does not preserve the evidence, then the judge that presides over the case may impose certain sanctions, some that include:
- Not allowing any testimony related to the evidence
- Striking an answer from a defendant from the record of the case
- Offering the jury with information on the principles of spoliation
There are various consequences that may be faced if evidence is destroyed for a personal injury case. In most cases, the consequences are dependent on the jurisdiction and where the case is being heard. Usually, there are three forms of consequences that the at-fault party may face if evidence is destroyed. These include:
- A criminal judgment
- Tort proceedings
- Spoliation inference
If a criminal judgment is issued, in the jurisdiction where the destruction of the evidence occurs, it is treated as an actual crime. The punishment for this is jail time and fines. With a tort proceeding, the victim has the opportunity to file additional lawsuits against the party who is at-fault for the destruction of the evidence from the original case.
For the spoliation of evidence, the judge may allow informaiton that’s able to be inferred from the destruction of evidence case. One example of this is if the jury concludes that the destroyed evidence was destroyed because the party that was at-fault felt guilty. This is going to let the victim’s attorney interpret the evidence with prejudice against the at-fault party (in other situations, this isn’t permitted).
What is the Spoliation Letter?
The spoliation letter is a type of legal document that is sent to the at-fault party in a situation that is going to involve litigation. The letter’s purpose is to advise the opposition that all evidence related to a case must be preserved. Some of the evidence that is listed in the spoliation letter include: repair records, personnel records, text messages, qualifications of a driver, backup discs, emails, and more.
Contact an Attorney for Help