Our Texas truck accident lawyers see many instances in which truck drivers and trucking companies destroy evidence after the collision. The law has fashioned a remedy for this type of conduct – spoliation.
Proof of spoliation raises a rebuttable presumption against the spoliator that the evidence favored the opposing party. This fact alone renders summary judgment inappropriate.
Thus, one who destroys or fails to preserve relevant evidence will be subject to a charge that had the evidence not been destroyed or preserved it would have favored the opposing party.
In one case, the Defendant driver left the scene of the collision before the police arrived so that a drug/alcohol screen could not be conducted. He later denied being impaired. The Court held that by avoiding the drug/alcohol screen, he had committed spoliation of evidence of his impairment at the time of the collision.
In another case , the Court had occasion to consider spoliation in the context of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The defendants destroyed a driver’s log book which is required to be maintained under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The Court held that this destruction entitled the Plaintiffs to a presumption that the logs would have shown that the driver violated hour of service limitations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and supported an award of punitive damages. More on this website @ https://www.carabinshaw.com/el-paso-18-wheeler-accidents.html
Additionally, the Court held that the destruction of vehicle inspection reports, which are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, raised a presumption that the truck was not in a safe operating condition, and also supported the award of punitive damages.
Another case presented the issue of spoliation involving the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation §382.303 which requires a post accident drug/alcohol screen. The truck driver involved in a collision failed to submit to the required test.
The Court found that the driver had committed spoliation of evidence, reasoning that “the jury could find, however, that the Defendant’s conduct amounted to a passive spoliation (sic) allowing any suspected evidence of drug or alcohol to pass through his system.” The Court further held that the failure to take the drug test “makes the fact of consequence to the action – His intoxication at the time of the collision – more probable than it would be without the evidence.” Click here @ https://truckaccidentattorneysa.com/new-braunfels-truck-accident-lawyers/