Spoliation generally refers to the destruction, concealment or loss of evidence in connection with a legal proceeding. In the context of a medical practice, spoliation may take the form of destroying, losing or rewriting an original patient record.
The legal consequences of spoliation can be quite severe. Depending upon the jurisdiction, if spoliation is found to have occurred, a court may allow an inference that the “lost” or destroyed information would have been unfavorable to the party who destroyed it. These kinds of inferences can be significant in a medical malpractice case, potentially turning a victory into a costly loss.
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