Spoliation is the destruction, loss, or material alteration of evidence or potential
evidence by an act or omission of a party in pending or future litigation.
County of Solano v. Delancy, 264 Cal.Rptr. 721 (Ct. App. 1989); Miller v. Montgomery County, 494 A.2d 761, 767 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1985). Evidence includes physical objects, videos, documents, or instruments.
Common-Law Origins and Rationale-Origin of Inference That Destroyed Evidence Would Be Harmful to the Party that Destroyed It The doctrine that one who loses evidence should suffer some sanction can trace its roots to the early 18th century.
The case most often cited is Armory y. Delamirie, 1 Strange 505, 93 Eng. Rep. 664 (KB 1722). A chimney sweep that found a ring took it to a jeweler for cleaning and appraisal. The ring was returned without the jewel. The Court instructed the jury to “presume the strongest against [the jeweler], and make the value of the best jewels the measure of … damages.”
What this means for the plaintiff in an accident case is that the party you are suing must provide any video or physical evidence regarding your accident. For example, in my slip and fall case, chick-fil-a had to provide me the store video which captured my accident.
However, you must and should request a copy in writing ASAP! after your accident. If your request goes unheard or is ignored or the requested evidenced is intentionally destroyed, then there will be penalties for the defense s well as strengthening your case.