What Types of Cases Are Ideal for Demonstrative Exhibits?

What types of cases are ideal for demonstrative exhibits

When you take a case to trial, you have to keep in mind that the jurors and judges you’re presenting the case to all have distinct learning styles. While conveying information verbally may resonate with one or more members of that jury panel, it might not prove as memorable for everyone. And, if your jurisdiction requires a unanimous decision, the way you present evidence could easily make or break your case. This is why using demonstrative exhibits at trial is now more critical than ever.

What types of evidence are best presented in a more visual format such as this, and what types of cases are ideal for demonstrative exhibits? We’ll cover this information (and more) below.

What Demonstratives Are Commonly Used at Trial?

Any exhibits that bring to life what would otherwise take the form of oral or written narratives would likely qualify as demonstrative exhibits. This includes illustrations, animations, and other types of interactive presentations.

What Types of Cases Are These Visually Engaging Courtroom Exhibits Used In?

While you may be familiar with the use of these demonstratives by attorneys trying criminal cases as those are the legal matters typically broadcast on television, these types of exhibits have become increasingly popular among personal injury attorneys looking to forward their clients’ personal injury cases.

Let us provide you with some examples of demonstrative exhibits and how our lawyer clients have used them at trial in their clients’ cases. Those ways include:

Auto Accidents

Demonstrative exhibits are often used in car, truck, motorcycle, and other types of accident cases that go to trial because they can help convey causation in ways that police reports may not. It’s not uncommon for illustrators, like ours at Advocacy Digital Media, to rely on the use of traffic engineer or crash reconstructionist reports for key measurements that we use to plug into our animation software to generate visually engaging demonstrative exhibits showing jurors what exactly happened the day of your client’s crash.

As far as motor vehicle accident illustrations or animations, they can be effective in showing such details as:

  • How speed led to a crash or increased the severity of it
  • Why it’s impossible for the collision to have transpired as a motorist claims, given the angle at which it occurred and the damage left behind

Essentially, multi-dimensional illustrations produced for use as demonstratives in the courtroom are effective in providing a static snapshot of what occurred, for example, when no photographs were taken. Animations can serve the value of taking those who weren’t on the scene to it, which can aid in helping them decide where liability lies.

Product Liability Situations

As you’re well aware, dangerous and defective product cases are notoriously complex for the average person to understand. This is why attorneys often use demonstratives for product liability cases that go to trial. They can be helpful to show a consumer using a product normally, as instructed, and how, despite them doing so, its components broke down, causing injury or death, or how it malfunctioned, leading to the same end result.

Demonstrative exhibits that our illustrators have created for dangerous or defective product cases like these have included:

  • “Blow out” 2 or 3-D illustrations showing a product’s different components in a disassembled format, so perhaps jurors can see where design failures existed
  • Animations showing how a product was not only manufactured but how its components quickly degraded, triggering its final destructive action (i.e., an explosion and ensuing fire)

Premises Liability Incidents and Construction Accidents

Another type of legal matter that attorneys often request demonstrative exhibits for is their dangerous premises cases, which may include illustrations or animations they use in construction accident cases. As someone who’s tried these cases in court, you probably know having more than an eyewitness account can be enormously valuable in forwarding these cases. Some examples of scenarios where personal injury lawyers we’ve worked with have used our visually engaging courtroom graphics, illustrations, and animations include:

  • To demonstrate how a slip and fall hazard was unforeseeable and/or unavoidable
  • What led to an innocent bystander walking down the street being struck by a falling object
  • In showing how negligent security issues led to a school or workplace violence situation
  • How a property was an attractive nuisance, and how that unnecessarily brought your client to it, leading to their injuries

Medical Malpractice

Demonstratives are particularly effective when used in medical negligence cases. Why? It comes down to most judges and jurors do not have sufficient health care training to understand these concepts when discussed in a purely hypothetical way (verbally). Colorful, interactive trial exhibits can bring medical terminology and processes to life, making it much easier for laypeople to conceptualize them. They’re particularly effective when they’re used in combination with expert witness testimony.

Law firms that have utilized our courtroom exhibit services in the past have done so in health care provider negligence cases to show details like:

  • How a surgeon’s dissection of a nearby organ during surgery was preventable
  • The implications associated with a doctor twisting a baby’s body when attempting to deliver them naturally
  • How the administration of the wrong drug to a patient caused a rapid decline in their health

Pretty much any process you suspect occurred internally in your client’s body that a witness may describe can be depicted graphically using demonstrative exhibits. This is something that photographs or any other traditional visuals have a way of showing.

Learning More About Demonstrative Exhibits

Keeping jurors stimulated, especially if you’re trying a complex or long case, can be quite the feat. Visually engaging illustrations and interactive animations can be that special weapon in your corner that not only keeps them interested and engaged but also studies show that these demonstratives are effective in helping retain the information presented. Thus, if you want your jurors to understand you and your client’s perspective, the exhibits you show matter.

Reach out to our team of illustrators at Advocacy Digital Media to discuss what types of graphics, including illustrations and animations, you may be envisioning. We’ll go over whether, from our experience, the demonstrative evidence that we produce is effective for forwarding cases like you are looking to do and, if so, discuss timelines for the completion of those assets.