Understanding Spoliation and How It Can Affect Your Case

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
May 21, 2024
Bags of documents and evidence

When you find yourself embroiled in a legal battle, whether it be for a personal injury claim or a criminal defense case, the integrity of evidence plays a pivotal role in determining the outcome. Spoliation, the act of destroying, altering, or failing to preserve evidence that is relevant to ongoing litigation, can significantly impact your case. This concept is crucial for anyone involved in legal proceedings to understand, as it can both negatively affect the evidence in your favor or potentially provide grounds for sanctions against the opposing party.

At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. (RGSG), we recognize the complexities involved in navigating through the legal system and the importance of preserving evidence for the success of your case. Our talented team of attorneys, with a combined experience spanning over 270 years, is dedicated to providing you with the representation needed to address challenges, including issues related to spoliation. We understand the nuances of these situations and are prepared to guide you through the process, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you have the best possible chance of achieving a favorable outcome.

The Legal Implications of Spoliation

Spoliation can have serious legal implications for both the party responsible for the destruction and the party potentially harmed by such actions. Courts take the preservation of evidence very seriously, as it is fundamental to the administration of justice. When evidence relevant to a case is intentionally or negligently destroyed or altered, it can lead to sanctions, including fines, adverse inference rulings, or even dismissal of claims or defenses. Understanding these implications is crucial for ensuring that all parties maintain the integrity of the legal process.

The responsibility to preserve evidence begins the moment litigation is reasonably anticipated. This means that both individuals and businesses must take proactive steps to safeguard relevant information once they become aware that a lawsuit might be filed. Failure to do so can be seen as an attempt to undermine the legal process, leading to potential penalties. It is important for litigants to understand their obligations and for victims to recognize when the spoliation of evidence by an opposing party could affect their case.

Adverse inference rulings are particularly significant in cases of spoliation. These allow a judge or jury to presume that the destroyed evidence was unfavorable to the party responsible for its loss. This presumption can shift the balance in a case, influencing the outcome. Therefore, it is essential to act swiftly if you suspect that evidence relevant to your case has been tampered with or destroyed. Legal counsel can assist in navigating these complex situations, ensuring that your interests are adequately represented.

Preventing Spoliation and Protecting Your Case

To safeguard your legal interests, it is critical to take immediate and effective steps to prevent the spoliation of evidence. For individuals involved in a lawsuit, this means retaining all potentially relevant documents, electronic data, and other physical evidence from the moment you anticipate litigation. Businesses, in particular, should implement robust data preservation policies and litigation hold procedures to ensure that employees understand their obligations to preserve evidence.

If you suspect that the opposing party has engaged in spoliation, it is vital to bring this to the attention of your attorney as soon as possible. Legal professionals can take steps to address the issue, including filing motions for sanctions or to compel the production of evidence. These actions not only help to protect your case but also serve to underscore the seriousness with which the courts regard the preservation of evidence.

It is equally important to work with legal counsel who can effectively navigate the challenges posed by potential spoliation. Knowledgeable attorneys can advise on the best strategies for evidence preservation and can take proactive measures to prevent the loss of crucial information. By partnering with a knowledgeable legal team, you can ensure that your case is built on a solid foundation of properly maintained evidence.

Why Choose Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., for Your Case?

Choosing the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. At RGSG, we are committed to providing our clients with the attention, expertise, and resources necessary to navigate complex legal challenges, including those related to spoliation of evidence. Our approach combines the advantages of a large firm’s resources with the personalized attention of a smaller practice, ensuring that each client receives the focused representation they deserve. Working with our team offers several benefits. We possess a deep understanding of both criminal defense and personal injury law, allowing us to craft comprehensive legal strategies tailored to the unique circumstances of your case. 

Our commitment to client communication means that you will be kept informed throughout the process, ensuring that your questions are answered and your concerns addressed. If you are facing a legal challenge and are concerned about the integrity of evidence in your case, contact Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., at (215) 822-7575 or visit our contact form. Our talented team is prepared to defend your rights and work toward securing the best possible outcome for your situation.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
May 21, 2024
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.