What’s the Difference Between Demonstrative Evidence and Substantitive Evidence?

What's the difference between demonstrative evidence and substantitive evidence?

In any case, evidence plays a major role. It is the cornerstone of every claim, helping the jury or judge determine the truth. However, there is more than one type of evidence. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may need to use both substantive and demonstrative evidence on behalf of your clients.

How are they different, and how can they assist with your case? At Advocacy Digital Media, we can help you connect the dots to better understand what’s the difference between demonstrative evidence and substantive evidence, allowing you to present a stronger claim for your clients.

Let’s look at substantive and demonstrative evidence and how to use them effectively in the courtroom.

What Is Substantive Evidence?

Any evidence that independently proves facts in the case is known as substantive evidence. In almost every case, this is the main focal point, and it can confirm or deny the allegations at trial. Substantive evidence can vary and often includes:

  • Eyewitness testimonies
  • Medical reports
  • Official documentation, such as police reports
  • Photo and video evidence

Substantive evidence forms the basis of the case. With it, the judge or jury can weigh the details to make a decision. However, substantive evidence does have a few drawbacks. If it is too complicated or complex, then those decision-makers might not understand its full impact, like in medical records.

Along with that, the reliability and authenticity of evidence can be called into question. Sometimes, even the interpretation may vary depending on the parties’ perspectives.

Demonstrative evidence is often used to help “fill in” the gaps that substantive evidence could leave in your case.

Demonstrative Evidence Is Different

Demonstrative evidence helps to visually represent complex information, such as your client’s injuries or medical terms. In turn, that makes it easier for the jury or judge to understand. By using charts, diagrams, animations, and simulations, you can present evidence in a more accessible manner.

While words can be effective, demonstrative evidence can help to make a bigger impact on the judge or jury. It is estimated that around 90% of the data and information transmitted to the human brain is visual, per the International Forum of Visual Practitioners.

A few effective types of demonstrative evidence include:

Trial Illustrations

Courtroom visuals like trial illustrations help simplify complex information and make it more understandable to the jury. These illustrations can include 3D diagrams, charts, and graphs. They all assist in visually representing scenes, explaining complicated terms, and illustrating the facts of the case.

Many times, these visual aids are used in personal injury cases. For example, you may want to use medical illustration to create detailed drawings to show the extent of your client’s injuries.

Trial illustrations are not considered evidence on their own. Instead, they enhance the jury’s understanding of the substantive evidence presented during the trial.

Trial Interactive Presentations

Sometimes, simple illustrations are not enough. Today, many attorneys are turning to trial interactive presentations. In these cases, the evidence can be interacted with during the trial. These presentations can include various elements, such as interactive timelines, 3D models, or software simulations.

For instance, an interactive 3D model of the incident scene could be presented in a premises liability case to illustrate how the defendant’s actions failed to keep your client safe from hazards.

Along with that, these presentations can also show how certain injuries occurred and affected the victim. With this level of visualization, you can be able to boost the jury’s understanding of the case and make the evidence more memorable.

Courtroom Animations

In today’s digital age, courtroom animations have become vital in legal proceedings. Once again, these tools can help to re-create what happened before, during, and after the incident.  For example, with a car accident lawsuit, a courtroom animation could be used to reconstruct the scene based on eyewitness accounts. In turn, the jury can have a clear visual representation of how the events transpired.

Creating precise and admissible courtroom animations can enhance the jury’s comprehension and recollection of evidence. As a result, they are an invaluable asset in today’s litigation proceedings.

Use Demonstrative Evidence in Your Next Case

While demonstrative evidence can be highly effective, use it with caution. No matter the type of exhibit you use, it must accurately reflect the substantive evidence it is meant to support. If not used in the proper context, it can potentially mislead or confuse the jury. As a result, that could impact the outcome of the case.

While substantive evidence serves as the foundation of the case, demonstrative evidence can enhance its understanding. Often, this can influence the final verdict. Substantive and demonstrative evidence are key if you are looking for ways to present the strongest evidence in court.

When you need the most compelling demonstrative evidence, Advocacy Digital Media is here to help you create the most visually stunning illustrations and admissions for your case.