What is a Spoliation Letter in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
By Team at Zimmet & Zimmet, In Personal injury
Anyone who sustains injuries through an accident resulting from another person’s negligence is legally eligible to pursue compensation. However, getting compensation is not always straightforward and may at times involve filing a lawsuit. In a personal injury case, which is a civil case, the burden of proof lies with you as the plaintiff. When the key evidence to build your case is in the hands of the opposing side, sending a spoliation letter can help ensure that the evidence is preserved. That’s why you need a skilled personal injury lawyer in Daytona Beach, FL to help navigate the murky waters that pursuing compensation can turn out to be.
What is the burden of proof in civil cases?
A civil case is a case between two individuals, businesses, or entities. As stated earlier, the burden of proof in a civil case lies with the plaintiff. This means that the plaintiff must persuade the judge or the jury that the evidence presented in court is more likely to be true than not and that there are grounds for the case.
In a Florida personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted negligently, resulting in injuries. To win a negligence case in court, the plaintiff must prove the four elements of negligence:
- Duty. The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff.
- Breach. The defendant acted in breach of their legal duty by failing to act or acting in a way that resulted in injuries.
- Causation. The actions or the inactions of the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries
- Damages. The plaintiff suffered injuries resulting from the defendant’s actions or inaction.
What is a spoliation letter?
A spoliation letter or otherwise known as “preservation of evidence letter” is a notice in writing sent to the opposing side. Usually, the purpose of this document is to request the preservation of all the evidence relevant to the plaintiff’s injury. Spoliation may be necessary for various types of evidence, including:
- Video footage
- Phone records, including emails, voice, and text messages
- Medical records
- Social media posts and correspondence
- Inspection records, maintenance reports, and repair records may also be necessary where trucks are involved
When you may need a spoliation letter in a personal injury case
While the burden of proof in a Florida personal injury claim lies with the plaintiff, sometimes it happens that the key evidence is in the hands of the opposing side or another party. Although the defendant in a personal injury claim has a generalized obligation to preserve every evidence relevant to the case, they do not always do so.
To avoid a situation where the defendant can destroy the key piece of evidence, a skilled personal injury lawyer can assist you in writing a spoliation letter to the opposing side requesting that they preserve all the evidence relevant to the case. The letter can be delivered in person to the defendant or sent via certified mail.
Sending a spoliation letter immediately after the accident can significantly reduce the defendant’s chances of intentionally or unintentionally destroying the evidence. If, for any reason, you were late at sending the evidence preservation letter, your attorney could still send it during the discovery phase of your personal injury claim.
The discovery phase is the pre-trial phase of a lawsuit where opposing sides exchange information relevant to the case. This includes availing all the evidence to the opposing party to allow all parties to prepare for trial fairly.
Tips for writing a spoliation letter
If you plan to send a spoliation letter to a defendant, it’s important to put together a well-crafted legal document. An effective spoliation letter should include the following details:
- Indicate that you intend to pursue legal action. A well-drafted spoliation letter should clarify to the defendant your intention to sue and their legal obligation to preserve the evidence.
- Be as specific as possible. A spoliation letter must be specific and straightforward. This means you need to be aware of the specific evidence you need to be preserved and communicate the same in the letter.
- Be legally sound. Most often, writing a legally sound spoliation letter can be challenging for the layman and requires hiring an experienced attorney. If you are considering drafting a spoliation letter for a Florida personal injury case, it would be best to enlist a skilled Daytona Beach injury lawyer.
Our Daytona Beach injury attorneys can gather and preserve evidence for your claim
Working with an experienced attorney is critical to improving your odds of receiving maximum compensation. At Zimmet & Zimmet, our attorneys have been serving Florida residents since 1975, ensuring that they get the fairest compensation after an accident by using tools such as a spoliation letter to preserve evidence. Contact us online or give us a call today at 386-210-3720 to schedule your free consultation.