How to Use a Spoliation Letter to Meet the Burden of Proof in a Florida Personal Injury Case
Accidents often occur due to negligence on the part of others involved. When you suffer personal injuries in Orlando, you have the right to hold those at fault accountable in a Florida personal injury claim. However, there is a burden of proof which requires you to show that their negligence was the cause of your injury and the other side may try to either hide or destroy evidence in an attempt to hinder your case. Once we initiate litigation, our Orlando personal injury attorneys can send a spoliation letter to prevent this from happening.
What is “burden of proof” in civil cases?
Negligence is a legal term in civil cases that means failing to act in a reasonable manner, resulting in harm to others. Examples of negligence in personal injury claims include:
- Reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding, running red lights, and driving distracted or impaired, which are a common cause of motor vehicle accidents.
- Failing to properly maintain property, which is a common cause of slips, falls, and other types of premises liability accidents.
- Failing to take safety precautions or post warning of potential dangers, a common cause of construction site and other types of workplace accidents.
Under the Florida Statutes, you have the right to hold negligent parties responsible for damages you suffer through a personal injury lawsuit. However, you have to meet the burden of proof in showing that they were negligent and that their actions are the direct cause of your personal injuries. To meet the burden of proof, our Orlando personal injury attorneys will conduct our own investigation, gathering strong evidence to present before the judge and jury in your case.
What is a spoliation letter/preservation of evidence letter?
“Discovery” happens shortly after your lawsuit is filed and refers to the phase of litigation in which each side shares any evidence they have obtained with the opposing party. Naturally, the defendant (or at-fault party) may be reluctant to reveal anything that could be used against them in court. To ensure this potentially incriminating evidence is preserved, rather than being intentionally or unintentionally lost or destroyed, your attorney will send them a spoliation letter prior to the discovery process.
Also referred to as a ‘preservation of evidence letter’, a spoliation letter requests any evidence relevant to the case be preserved and shared with the plaintiff (you). A spoliation letter specifically asks that the opposing party refrain from any of the following during the case:
- Destroying evidence;
- Failing to disclose evidence;
- Hiding evidence;
- Tampering with evidence in any way.
Once our Orlando personal injury attorneys draft a spoliation letter, we will send it via certified mail to insurance representatives or other at-fault parties involved in your case. This provides proof that they were put on notice to not engage in any of the above actions.
How to write a spoliation letter
When accidents resulting in personal injuries happen, one of your first steps should be to contact our experienced Orlando personal injury attorneys. We can advise you on your rights, including time frames for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, while conducting our own investigations, gathering evidence, and protecting you throughout the litigation process. This includes writing a spoliation letter and sending it to the opposing party on your behalf.
A spoliation letter should open with your name, the date the accident happened, a brief description of the damages you suffered, and reference to the current litigation. It should then go into the types of evidence you want preserved and protected. This may be specific or general in nature. The following are examples of evidence in different types of personal injury claims that may included in a spoliation letter:
- In a car, truck, or motorcycle accident claim: Information on the driver’s record, past accidents, and the results of blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) testing done at the scene.
- In a premises liability claim: Information on any prior claims filed against the property owner, maintenance records, and schedules for employees on the date of the accident.
- In a workplace or construction site accident: Information on tools and equipment being used at the time, safety precautions in effect, and any safety violations the company has had in the past.
Other evidence detailed in a spoliation letter includes transcripts of phone calls, emails, and records of other communications. After detailing the types of evidence that should be preserved, a spoliation letter will also detail the consequences if it is withheld, destroyed, or altered in any way. This includes filing a spoliation claim, seeking compensation for damages you may have otherwise been entitled to.
Our Orlando injury attorneys can gather and preserve evidence for your claim
If you suffer personal injuries due to the negligence of others, reach out to the Orlando injury attorneys at Pardy & Rodriguez, PA. We are A Firm Dedicated To You, with over 35 years of combined experience gathering and preserving the evidence needed to help injured victims get full compensation. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule a free consultation today.