For centuries the law was considered ‘a profession of words’, but as modern technology evolved, attorneys began to utilize visual aids to help win favorable outcomes. And in the twenty-first century, visual evidence has come to dominate courtrooms for good reason – because it can make or break a case.
This is especially true for civil attorneys with cases involving accidents or motor vehicle collisions. With the compensation for plaintiffs who were injured in a car accident averaging at $29,700 in 2022, how can plaintiff attorneys recover more for their clients? For defense attorneys, what new strategies can be used to minimize, or even completely eliminate, settlement or verdict amounts?
In civil cases involving accidents, it’s not uncommon for either counsel to gain leverage in court with accident reconstructions and their accompanying experts. This involves a scientific process of analyzing the aftermath of a car, pedestrian, or other vehicle-related accident to understand what happened.
Due to the complex factors involved, litigators use accident reconstruction animations to simplify the data and help their audience better understand what happened.
But is this form of visual litigation aid worth the investment for your case? For attorneys who have experience in using them to support their arguments, many would say yes. Discover how plaintiff and defense attorneys from different cases had successful outcomes below.
Why Accident Reconstruction Animations are Worth the Financial Investment
When you invest in your case, whether that investment is time, research, or investing money on areas like experts or demonstratives, it can be hard to determine whether it’s worthwhile – or how it impacted the result.
However, accident reconstruction animations can be one of the highest ROI choices you can make for your case. Attorneys on either side who use these animations have seen an outsized impact on their outcome – whether a settlement or jury verdict. Here’s why.
This animation depicts a nighttime collision that occurred on a blind curve in the canyons of Los Angeles.
How Plaintiff Attorneys See an ROI from Accident Reconstruction Animation
Assessing the potential ROI on demonstrative investments for your case can be a challenge. You need to ensure that the cost delivers a return for both you and your client.
In the case where the plaintiff counsel leveraged accident reconstruction animations, measuring their return was simple. One commercial truck driver did not break in time, and collided into the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff counsel had photos, a traffic collision report, and the plaintiff’s first-hand account, but they wanted to really drive home their argument with a visual.
After collaborating with a forensic animation firm and creating an accurate visual, the defense team reevaluated their case. They increased their settlement from $450K to $1,000,000. Thus, created over 2000% return on their investment.
The visual aids were so impactful that it resulted in the defense counsel increasing their settlement offer to one million dollars.
In Mediation & Trial
In litigation, going to trial can be risky and expensive. Going to court can mean a lengthier legal process for your client, and it puts decisions in the hands of unpredictable jurors. On the contrary, mediation can also mean a lot of back and forth between the two parties, and leave your client with a lower settlement than you and they may desire.
Bringing an accident recreation to the table can stop the back and forth in mediation. A well-designed visual can depict several accounts of the event. When the animation highlights the defendant’s negligence and liability, it becomes difficult to argue. And it can implore the defense to settle rather than going to trial, when it becomes clear how prepared you are.
If your case does go to trial, you can use the visuals you invested in to capture the jury’s attention, which could lead to a higher verdict. That’s why it’s beneficial to enhance opening and closing statements with a car crash animation.
How Defense Attorneys See an ROI from Accident Recreation Demonstratives
Plaintiff attorneys aren’t the only legal parties who can benefit from an accident recreation animation. To reduce your client’s liability, demonstrative exhibits that highlight the accident can bring a large return on investment by helping to prove your client was not liable, or to reduce liability.
In one case that involved a police officer colliding with a civilian vehicle, a traffic accident animation helped the jury determine two verdicts:
- The officer was responding to an emergency at the time of the collision.
- The officer was not negligent with respect to the collision.
While the plaintiff counsel demanded $20 million, the jury determined a 100% favorable defense verdict. The return on investment was quite substantial for the defense.
The key to a successful defense verdict or settlement is to show factual accounts. Whereas a plaintiff party may use empathy to get a jury’s attention, the defense counsel can eliminate biased emotion with visual evidence.
Using physical data from an accident reconstruction, a forensic animator can create realistic representations of the scene of a crash under specific conditions. Physical data used includes:
- Maps: With tools such as Google Maps or Google Earth, data visualizations can be highly realistic scenes.
- Narratives: Legal animation can visually represent procedures in a claim to clarify complicated accident-related jargon.
- Timelines: Providing a clear timeline can show how a plaintiff had time to react differently.
- Conditions: Weather data and laser scans help showcase various conditions that factor into the incident.
In Mediation and Trial
Using animation to defend your client and lower, or eliminate, the settlement demand during mediation is a powerful tactic. Animation can highlight specific events and conditions for every party to examine. If the opposing counsel has an emotional argument for the accident, a realistic and accurate representation can provide a clear, unbiased answer.
Knowing if the opposing counsel will use litigation visual aids in mediation or trial is another element when considering an investment into a motor vehicle collision animation, or some other accident visual. If they have a compelling visual while your party does not, it could appear to give them more credibility in court.
Accident Reconstruction Visuals Can Be a Game-Changer for Your Case
Accident reconstruction animations are a useful tool during civil litigation. Whether you’re a plaintiff attorney or a defense attorney, a realistic accident or car crash animation can accompany your most persuasive points to land a successful outcome.
Exhibits that animate your plaintiff’s perspective from the accident help the jurors feel more empathetic, or on the other hand, help disprove false claims. When millions of dollars are on the line, an investment into a visual can return you a multi-fold ROI.
The key is to work with an experienced legal animator that has seen success with previous cases with accident reconstructions. If you’d like to learn more about strengthening your accident case with legal graphics or videos, get a no obligation quote from our team today.