Spoliation of Evidence
Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers Assisting Victims in Schaumburg and Wheaton
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a truck accident that was not your fault, you should explore your options with a Wheaton or Schaumburg truck accident lawyer who understands the appropriate steps to take and will take them promptly. At Therman Law Offices, we know how to protect a victim’s rights in a complex truck accident case. Time is of the essence in these cases, and it is important to act as quickly as possible after your accident has occurred to avoid spoliation of evidence and secure the appropriate evidence to prove your claim against a trucking company or driver.
Understanding the Spoliation of Evidence Doctrine
Most truck accident cases in Illinois are rooted in the legal theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a truck driver fails to use reasonable care behind the wheel, thereby causing an accident and resulting harm to another person. Reasonable care is defined as how a reasonably prudent person would act under the same or similar circumstances. For instance, if a truck driver causes an accident by failing to check a blind spot, he or she will likely be liable for any resulting injuries or property damage. This is because a truck driver using reasonable care would understand the risk of accidents associated with neglecting to check a blind spot.
Establishing negligence requires key pieces of evidence. Spoliation of evidence is a legal doctrine that is appropriate when a party negligently or intentionally destroys material that is needed as evidence in litigation. Some examples of spoliation include destroying documents or records that may be relevant to the case, failing to preserve video surveillance or other types of video footage, and prematurely repairing damage to property without having it inspected.
In order to bring a spoliation claim, however, there must have been a duty to preserve the information or evidence in the first place. In Illinois, there is a two-prong test to determine whether there is a duty to preserve evidence, under which a plaintiff’s lawyer must establish that litigation was reasonably anticipated and that a reasonable person should have foreseen that the evidence would be material to a potential civil trial.
Spoliation of evidence is particularly problematic for a plaintiff in personal injury cases because the plaintiff has the burden of proof. Without the necessary evidence, the plaintiff would not be able to prove his or her case. In Illinois, plaintiffs are required to establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. Under this standard, the party who has the greater weight of the evidence in their favor, even if slightly, will win. Basically, the plaintiff must prove that his or her assertions are more likely true than not. If he or she has proven the case to a 50.1 percent degree of certainty, he or she will win.
Given the significant impact that spoliation has on one side’s ability to prove its case, courts normally respond firmly to spoliation. When evidence has been manipulated or destroyed, the defendant may be liable for the plaintiff’s economic damages as a result of the destruction of evidence. We will thoroughly examine evidence that could be critical to your case, such as the black box, employment records, maintenance records, and the truck driver’s logbooks of their hours of service. In some cases, truck companies may also be liable for the truck driver’s negligence. In these cases, we will make sure that the truck company has not engaged in spoliation as well.
Hire a Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg
Truck accidents can have catastrophic consequences for everyone involved, and especially for people in smaller passenger vehicles. If you or your loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a driver’s or company’s negligence, we can help. At Therman Law Offices, we can evaluate your case and help you figure out your next steps. We are committed to making sure that these claims are preserved and pursued in a timely manner. Our attorneys represent people in cities such as Schaumburg, Wheaton, Bloomingdale, Roselle, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Villa Park, Addison, and Elmhurst. For more information about your case, call us today at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.