Posted On: January 27, 2013 by Finch McCranie, LLP

The Value Of Demonstrative Evidence


There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. In legal cases presented to a jury, this is particularly true. If you have photographs of an automobile collision’s aftermath and can graphically demonstrate the damage to the vehicles involved, this is much better and more persuasive evidence than is an oral description of the same damage. Likewise, if there are x-rays or photographs of a client’s injuries, this too is very persuasive. Where original photographic evidence or videotaped evidence is not available, oftentimes, demonstrative evidence can be created which depicts what occurred.

An effective use of demonstrative evidence is the use of medical illustrations. If someone has sustained a complex comminuted bone fracture, as an example, a medical illustrator can be retained to draw the fracture, which then can be authenticated by a doctor during his or her deposition in which the doctor describe the injury and the resulting treatment, which oftentimes may result in the implantation of screws, pins and other medical devices. This is very effective and truly “demonstrative” of the associated pain and suffering. The use of a demonstrative illustration can also be used to demonstrate how a particular automobile accident occurred, what the intersection looked like and what the drivers could see. Using such evidence is an effective tool for the advocate in presenting their case to a jury, assuming the case cannot otherwise be resolved by means of compromise and settlement.

Demonstrative evidence can take many forms. Again, we can prepare medical illustrations of a client’s injuries, or we can have computerized animation recreations of how accidents occurred authenticated by forensic engineers, as an example. We can also prepare summary charts of damages totaling the medical expenses and lost wages. Again, the purpose of such demonstrative evidence is to present evidence to a jury in the manner that is most likely to have an impact upon them, to convince them of what being asserted. Something that is heard and seen is more likely to be remembered than something that is merely heard, thus, the importance and value of liberally using demonstrative exhibits during the trial of any serious personal injury case. While a picture is worth a thousand words, the creative use of demonstrative exhibits can be just as valuable in serious injury litigation.