January 7, 2015 • Legal Terminology
In personal injury lawsuits, it is critical to get the jury to recognize in their minds, and to visualize what exactly happened. How does the lawyer do that? There are several ways. The lawyer will have several witnesses who will testify as to what happened. The lawyer will show photographs of the accident scene, the intersection where the accident actually occurred. The lawyer will try to recreate for the jury, so that they get a clear picture in their minds about what took place.
Different Ways a Lawyer can create a Picture about what Happened
The plaintiff’s lawyer will have to use different pieces of the puzzle during the course of the trial, through different witnesses, documents, photographs, and other evidence that come in, to give the jury a clear picture, a visualization of what it is that actually occurred. The lawyer will also do this by using word pictures. There is a popular phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words.
A person can look at a photograph of the accident scene and immediately get a sense of where the cars were coming from. A fantastic way to present a scene to the jurors is to make them visualize in their own mind, about the events that occurred.
Lack of Video Evidence
It is obvious nobody has a camera strapped to their heads (GoPros are not everywhere yet!), or a body vest camera attached to them at all times. Since the jury was not there at the time of the accident, the lawyer will have to use available information and use words to paint a picture, to show the jury what exactly occurred.
For instance, the lawyer will talk about the intersection where the accident took place. He will point out to the jury, which direction it goes, whether it is an east-west direction or north-south direction and so on. Then the lawyer might indicate what was next to the intersection. Were there parked cars, and if so, where they were. He will indicate where the houses and stores are located in relation to the intersection.
Creating those Images
He relates all this because it provides the jury an aid to visualize. He uses word picture so that the jury can form an impression in their minds about what exactly it is that they are looking at and what actually occurred. The jury is also able to form an idea in their minds about what the people involved in the incident were going through from their perspective.
Another method is accident reconstruction, where an expert might use computer animation to try to reconstruct exactly how the accident occurred. To back up the reconstruction, the lawyer will use available evidence, testimonies, records, and the photographs taken of the scene. All this put together will help the jury clearly visualize exactly what went on during the time of accident and who was the cause of it.