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Notification of “Demand To Preserve Evidence” to Possibly Responsible Parties

Don't Tell Me Show Me Concept
Don’t Tell Me Show Me Concept

The determination of who is at fault in civil tort claims is of the utmost importance to a severely wounded victim. This determination applies in particular when the evidence is not immediately apparent. If you believe that a party or parties were at fault, it is essential that you determine who it is, and put them on notice.

Even before contacting your insurance company, many PI lawyers argue that you must make sure to let them know of the incident, your injuries, and your intention of filing a claim.

Different accidents have different ways of determining who could have caused the funds to pay you. When involved in a car crash, the obvious potential responsible party is the other driver or drivers. In this case, you would write a letter documenting the accident, how you were injured.

And it tells people you are going to file a claim. You will need to demand that the potential defendants preserve all documents. So you will specify that they must maintain papers, and things, like time sheets, pictures, cell phone and dispatch records, and so forth.

What Does “Shall Be Viewed With Mistrust” Mean to The Case?

You will need to explain that if the case goes to trial after you asked those things be preserved that you will ask for a jury instruction regarding destroyed evidence. So that means that any evidence produced by a defendant “shall” be viewed with distrust and even disregarded. (See also Evidence Code Section 412.).

You will also notify the driver’s company, if possible, and your insurance company. Other cases are not so cut and dry. For example, workplace injuries will have different lines of determining who may be at fault. And some are relatively straightforward. But others need the expertise of a skilled attorney.

Why Make Sure and Keep Copies?

When you have figured who you believe to be at fault, you must craft the letter to send to them. Make sure that you keep copies of the letter for your records, and if possible get it notarized. By submitting such a note, the parties will be on notice. Your message will ‘state the facts’ and not blame any party for the incident.

Your evidence or their admission will do that for you. Sending the letter registered, or certified mail, return receipt requested is a good idea, even though the “Mailbox Rule” applies. In the crucial hours and days after an accident, it is essential not to dawdle. Don’t miss any statutes of limitations of insurance filing deadlines.

Send out the preservation of evidence letters within several weeks of the accident.  And make sure to reach out to an attorney with experience in these claims. While you may not file a complaint in court, later on, an attorney can help guide you to know your legal rights in these cases.


Michael Ehline - PI Law Tutorials

Michael Ehline is a highly trained personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, CA. He writes educational articles to help injured consumers.

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