A Picture May Be Worth a Thousand Words: Use of Video Evidence in Personal Injury Claims
While there is an often repeated saying that "a picture is a worth a thousand words," this saying was coined long before video footage was common. The value of video in some situations can be far more compelling than photos, documents, physical evidence and expert opinions so depending on the case, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers may use different sorts of videos in a serious injury case to craft a more persuasive presentation for use in mediation, arbitration or trial. Although video evidence can be compelling, sometimes it is neceessary to to use legal precedent to influence the judge to permit such evidence to be used at trial. We have provided some key information about how videos can be used in Georgia personal injury claims and lawsuits.
Day in the Life Videos: These videos provide a way to walk the jury (and an insurance company in settlement negotations) through the daily experiences of an accident victim prior to and after a car accident or other incident that results in life-changing injuries. Testimony from family members, friends and the plaintiff can provide a "before and after" picture of how permanent injuries have changed the quality of one's life. The image of actually observing firsthand the types of activities that the victim used to enjoy and the daily hardships that must be endured when engaging in what were previously mundane activities can be extremely powerful when a jury is considering damages.
Wrongful Death Videos: Wrongful death videos can provide a special type of day in the life video that allows a jury to see the close bond and connection between those who suffer fatal injury and family members who are left behind. This type of video also allows surviving family members to show how their lives have been changed because of their loved one's death. Sometimes the death of the victim will create financial hardships like forcing children to quit college to take care of younger siblings. This type of economic hardship may be effectively communicated through use of video.
Accident Reconstruction: Although expert testimony from an accident reconstruction expert can be powerful evidence because of the specialized knowledge, training and experience of the expert witness, sometimes this evidence is difficult for a jury to understand. An accident reconstruction video may provide animations or simulations that allow jurors to visually see how the forces and actions involved in the accident led to the outcome. Again, this can assist jurors in visualizing concepts that are difficult to comprehend.
Video Depositions: Sometimes depositions are videotaped, but this form of evidence can be a mixed blessing. It is difficult to know in advance how a person's body language, demeanor, tone of voice and other non-verbal aspects of one's testimony will appear until after the video deposition has been recorded. While in certain situations, this type of video may depict physical signs that suggest dishonesty, these same physical characteristics may represent nothing more than social awkwardness, lack of language proficiency or physical or intellectual disabilities.
Because videos can have enormous persuasive power on a jury, judges will use the rules of evidence to prevent use of such footage in certain situations. The video must be relevant to material issues in the case, and the prejudicial value of the video must not outweigh the probative value. In some situations, video evidence may also be excluded based on the hearsay. Because judges may be concerned about the overwhelming emotional impact of video evidence, it is important to be represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer with a command of evidentiary rules when seeking to use such evidence.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 35 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case
If you have questions about the court process in civil lawsuits, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.