What To Do When Someone Hurts You, Your Family or Business
When someone injures you, a family member or your business, your first reactions are often purely emotional. “How could this happen to me, my family member, or my business?”
The second reaction is to seek the advice of a healthcare provider or other professional who can help you “fix” the injury or problem. Rarely do people realize that they should SIMULTANEOUSLY be making sure that all evidence in their and other people’s hands is PRESERVED.
Preservation of evidence is the subject of many voluminous treatises. However, it is simple. Anything that has to do with the accident or injury should be identified immediately and all measures taken to preserve it in its unadulterated state.
These days, we live in an electronic jungle. Cameras hang inside and outside of buildings. Keyless entry systems keep a record of who comes and goes and when. GPS has memory. The media often has information/footage of an event or its aftermath, mobile devices may have stored information, and social media may contain a bonanza of useful evidence. These do not even take into account the traditional evidence one contemplates, such as eyewitnesses, signed documents, skid marks, footprints, fingerprints, etc.
Imagine a situation in which a person is injured as a result of a malfunctioning piece of machinery. The machine is repaired or replaced and the old one disposed of. This spells disaster for any rights the injured person (or employee) may have against the manufacturer of the defective machine. Without the machine, it is extremely difficult to maintain an action against the wrongdoer.
The same logic applies to a truck or automobile accident. The vehicles and any software in them which would show speeds, braking action, etc., should be preserved until inspected by experts for you as well as the potential Defendants.
Even cell phone/smart phone data should be preserved when potentially relevant to the accident.
Whether the injury is to you, your family or your business, keep in mind that you must simultaneously preserve any and all evidence. Unfortunately, there is no “laundry list” of all potential “evidence” which must be preserved.
Therefore, as soon as an accident or event occurs, involve an expert in preserving the evidence and your legal rights. Our firm has developed multi-page preservation letters which can be sent to the opposing party and other entities.
Always keep in mind that you owe the other party the same duty to preserve evidence. Do not destroy anything or it may significantly alter or impair your rights.