FAQ – What is Demonstrative Evidence?
OUr personal injury attorneys are on the cutting edge of presenting compelling demonstrative evidence.
Demonstrative evidence is a tool of persuasion. It clarifies and simplifies points. It helps the jury understand the issues raised at trial. Demonstrative evidence can be as simple as a word written on butcher paper in front of a jury or as elaborate as a three dimensional animation.
Types of Demonstrative Evidence
The following are examples of demonstrative evidence we created for our clients’ cases. We believe the more the jury sees, the better they understand.
- Accident Reconstruction Boards Expert testimony can be confusing. To clarify the technical testimony, boards that visually explain the expert’s opinions are often useful. On occasion, multiple boards are used to explain different aspects of the accident or the accident avoidance sequence.
- Celebration of Life Videos
When someone dies, he or she leaves behind loved ones who continue to suffer a loss. To enable the jury to understand who the decedent was and how much he or she meant to the family left behind, that person’s story must be told. To assist the jury in getting to know the decedent, photographs, letters, cards and home videos can be collected, edited and videotaped to show the jury.
- Closing Argument Boards
After the evidence has been presented to the jury, the attorney has the right to give closing argument. Some trials are over in days, while others may go on for months. Using boards to illustrate the points the attorney is making during closing will help the jury understand the points.
- Computer Animation
If one picture is worth a thousand words, a computer animation can tell the entire story. Computer animations can allow the jury to see the accident through the eyes of the plaintiff, the defendant or a third person.
- Day in The Life Video
Although people can intellectually understand the effects of crippling injuries, a day in the life video can allow the jury to see what a person with those injuries has to endure 24 hours a day. Activities of daily living that we take for granted can be a struggle for someone with catastrophic injury. The jury needs to understand the full extent of the plaintiff’s injuries in order to award the compensation the plaintiff deserves.
In any case, even those with thousands of exhibits,there may be three or four documents that are the key to success. In these few documents, the crucial information may be limited to a few words or sentences. Highlighting and enlarging these points will allow the jury to concentrate on what is important.
A document or a deposition or trial transcript may contain too much information. Taking excerpts from lengthy documents and displaying that to the jury will help them focus on the important information.
- Graphs and Charts
Graphs and charts can assist the jury in making sense out of testimony or voluminous documents. Graphs can often tell the story much better than the most eloquent speaker. Charts can also help the jury focus on the important issues in a case.
- Jury Instructions
At the end of the trial the Judge will read a number of instructions to the jury. It can take as little as 15 minutes or as much as an hour for the Judge to read to the jury the law they must follow. Enlarging the important Jury Instructions and using them during Closing Argument is an effective way to demonstrate why the jury should vote in favor of the client.
- Marking Pen and Butcher Paper
Sometimes less is more. A simple line drawing can explain what happened. A simple word written on the board can often sum up the motive behind a defendant’s action.
- Mechanism of Injury Animation
Sometimes using a still illustration does not fully express how an actual injury occurred. In these circumstances it may be helpful to use an Accident Reconstruction Video.
- Medical Illustrations
Medical testimony in personal injury and medical malpractice cases can be confusing. Custom designed medical illustrations assist the jury in understanding technical expert testimony.
Anatomical models and specially created models depicting an accident scene or a defective piece of equipment that is used during the testimony of an expert witness and during closing argument can often emphasize a point more than an illustration.
- Photographic Enlargements
If one picture is worth a thousand words, the photo shown to the jury must be large enough for all the jurors to see and appreciate.
Certain cases require the jury to understand not only the final event but what led up to it. At times the events may span years or decades. A timeline is a visual aid for the jury to track the events in a chronological order.
How one displays demonstrative evidence is dependent upon the evidence one wishes to introduce and the physical limitations of the courtroom. One or more easels can be placed in the courtroom to display demonstrative evidence boards. Demonstrative evidence can also be displayed on projection screens or television monitors using PowerPoint, Elmo, DVD or video.
Considerable care should go into deciding the type of demonstrative evidence to use, as well as the information to display. Too much information can confuse the jury. Too much demonstrative evidence can diminish its effectiveness. Demonstrative evidence that isn’t accurate is worse than no evidence at all.
Cheong, Denove, Rowell & Bennett has the extensive resources to handle the most complex legal matters, yet is small enough to offer individualized service to our clients.
We believe the more you know, the better choice you will make.