I have become increasingly frustrated over the years by the quality of legal representation provided to Wisconsin truck accident victims. I am often contacted by potential clients requesting that I take over their cases after they had been represented by months or years by attorneys at the large TV-advertising law firms.
Feeling sympathetic, I reluctantly agree to review their file. The first thing I look for is the spoliation letter. As any experienced truck accident lawyer knows, the spoliation letter is perhaps the most important step in representing any truck crash victim. In my office, I insist that a spoliation letter be sent out the same day I am retained. This is not discretionary it is mandatory. The spoliation letter is sent certified to the the trucking company AND the truck driver. The spoliation letter puts the company and driver on notice of the claim and directs them not to destroy the essential evidence that I need to prove my client's case. The spoliation letter also directs the company and driver that if they decide to destroy this critical evidence, then the Court will likely instruct the jury that this evidence would have been favorable to the injury victim. My spoliation letters are very specific as to the exact evidence that must be retained. My spoliation letters vary depending on the facts of the crash. Only an experienced truck accident attorney has the knowledge to draft an appropriate spoliation letter tailored to the facts of the crash.
All too often, in the first five minutes of reviewing the file, I find that the potential client's former attorney failed to send out the spoliation letter. Under federal regulations, trucking companies are required to maintain the majority of this critical evidence for months. Oftentimes, the trucking companies will intentionally destroy this evidence after 6 months, even though they are know of the crash and the possibility of a future lawsuit. Trucking companies that destroy this critical evidence are guilty of spoliation of evidence and can be found in default or the Court can instruct the jury that they are to infer the missing evidence would have been favorable to the injured person. While this inference is helpful, one can only imagine how helpful the intentionally destroyed evidence would have been to the plaintiff's case.