We store evidence in a product liability case to protect the evidence’s integrity and ensure it remains in the same condition as the day you suffered your injuries. The defective product is often the most important piece of evidence in one of these cases, and it is paramount that we preserve it.
Importance of Evidence in a Product Liability Case
As the plaintiff, or injured party, in a product liability lawsuit, the burden of proof falls on you. This means you and your product liability attorney must prove the product had a defect and this defect lead to your injuries. This typically requires a careful analyzation of the defective product and other evidence, both by your attorney and a number of expert witnesses.
Only after a full investigation can your legal team build a solid case and take your case to court to recover compensation on your behalf. For this reason, it is imperative we have access to the product that caused your injuries. If you returned it to the manufacturer, had it repaired, or otherwise lost access to it, it may be difficult to prove your case.
The Process to Get and Preserve Evidence in These Cases
After a defective product causes an injury, it is important we secure it as soon as possible. For example, imagine a tire defect causes a tread separation at high speed on the interstate. You lose control, and your vehicle crashes. We need to take action quickly to preserve the tire casing and your vehicle.
If you or a family member contacts us right away, we will work to take custody of the evidence within hours. We will document the tire casing and the damage to your car and dispatch a survey crew to the scene of the accident to document any additional evidence and debris.
If you do not contact us immediately, it is important to ensure your vehicle and the remains of the tire are in a secure location. While we prefer to store the evidence from the beginning, we understand that sometimes you are not sure what to do right away. We can still take possession of the defective part and other evidence as soon as we sign on to handle your case and establish a chain of custody until the trial.
Occasionally, it is impossible for us to obtain and store the evidence on our own. The defense may already have possession of the evidence, or there might be other reasons we cannot obtain it.
When this happens, we may need to send a letter of spoliation to everyone who has access to it. We sometimes call this a “Do Not Destroy” letter, because it informs the recipients that the item(s) mentioned in the letter may be evidence in a defective product suit. This letter demands they do not change, damage, destroy, or release the vehicle or other items without our consent.
In the case of a vehicle held by a salvage yard, we can request they allow us to purchase the vehicle at its salvage value. This avenue can allow us to obtain not only your vehicle, but also other vehicles involved in the crash. This gives accident reconstruction experts and other expert witnesses more information about what happened during the crash and helps us build a stronger case.
Potential Problems If We Cannot Secure Evidence in a Product Liability Case
The most important reason we need to obtain and store evidence in a product liability case is to protect and preserve it. If it is not kept in a controlled environment, you allow the possibility of someone coming in — intentionally or unintentionally — and damaging it. Not only does this make it harder to prove your case, the defense might even allege that we committed the act. Known as spoliation of evidence, this becomes another legal hurdle we will have to clear before we can attempt to recover the compensation you deserve.
We find it is best practice to store the evidence for a product liability case as soon as possible after the injuries occur. This allows us to maintain the best possible chain of custody, and to preserve the evidence in the best condition to support our case.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Product Liability Case
When we store the evidence from your product liability case, we can ensure access to both sides. We can control the environment and who has access, being careful to preserve the original condition.
If you believe you suffered injuries in a defective product accident, the product liability team from Newsome Melton can review your situation and explain if we believe you have a viable case. Call us today at 888-808-5977 to get started.