Whether it is a defective product, the allegation of a poorly maintained piece of equipment, or even a security footage, failing to preserve evidence relevant to the claimant's injury may be devastating to your case. If you destroy or fail to preserve material evidence, even it’s not intentional, a court is authorized to impose a wide range of sanctions against you. As soon as a potential claim is identified, you are under a duty to preserve evidence that you know or reasonably should know is relevant to the action. Because a potential claim may be identified in pre-litigation correspondence, the duty to preserve may start months or even years before a complaint is filed.
Physical Evidence - includes any physical or tangible object that proves a claim; ex: a defective piece of equipment
Photos - from the scene of the incident, any injuries or property damage
Recorded documentation - can include video evidence, medical reports, emails, etc.
Witnesses - eyewitnesses are individuals who saw the incident transpire firsthand
As a business owner, you should take steps to ensure that all evidence relating to an incident are preserved as soon as it comes to your attention. This may include collecting damaged equipment or contacting your security provider and asking them to save the any video footage from the day of the incident. Contacting your security provider is especially important to remember since many video surveillance systems automatically delete the footage every seven days.
It is also very important to make sure you are properly documenting anything you preserve. We have added a section to our Incident/ Claim Report where you can include a detailed description of any evidence that you save. Please inform your Account Manager as well, as they can advise the adjuster for your claim.
If you have any questions regarding the preservation of evidence, please don’t hesitate to call us!