Talk to any attorney about what you should do if you are ever involved in an accident with a commercial truck
and they will tell you that you should contact a trucking accident attorney as soon as possible. Hearing that, you may wonder why that is necessary. There are two full years between the date of the accident and when a lawsuit can be filed, so why not take a minute to catch your breath?
The answer to that question is spoliation. It alone is reason enough to get set up with a truck accident lawyer, even if you don’t intend to file suit for a long time.
Spoliation is the act, either through negligence or intentional act, of destroying evidence. In a case like this, it is extremely important that all evidence related to the accident, including maintenance records, driving records of the driver, personnel records, and anything else are saved and kept.
But doesn’t that happen anyway? You’d be surprised.
Many companies have retention policies for their documents. If the time comes for them to be destroyed and they don’t “know” about any pending or future litigation, it is possible that they could destroy important evidence that you’ll never be able to get your hands on and that the trucking companies face no penalties for.
What your tractor-trailer accident attorney will do is basically tell the trucking company in writing, “hey, you know there has been an accident, and you know there are important records in your possession related to that accident, so don’t destroy them until after this is all over.” This does a couple of things. Obviously, it puts the truckers on notice that they should destroy anything. But it also provides an avenue for redress if the trucking company does destroy records down the road.
In the end, I’d recommend getting in touch with someone that can help sooner rather than later. You never know what you might be missing, and when you do finally understand, it could be too late.