Courtroom Animation’s team collaborated with Todd Thibodo at the Law Offices of Todd D. Thibodo, to deliver a slip and fall video analysis that highlighted previously indiscernible data which ultimately fortified the Plaintiff’s claims. In this civil case, Todd’s client had been walking through a well-known grocery store when she slipped and fell on her way out through the self checkout area. The force and angle of her fall caused damage to her knee.
The available video footage caught on the store’s surveillance camera provided a clear perspective of the incident but did not evidently discern the cause of the fall. By applying forensic video analysis techniques, Courtroom Animation’s experts helped demonstrate that the plaintiff had fallen as the result of a previously unseen liquid spill. The end result of the case was a $100K jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
Brady Held, Courtroom Animation’s CEO and Founder, provided his deposition on the accuracy of this forensic analysis in court. Watch how our team broke down the client’s fall and the cause in the video above.
Challenge: Grainy Surveillance Footage
The defense attorney argued that the fall was not due to the store’s negligence but rather ill intent by the plaintiff, focusing on how the plaintiff did not buy anything and was walking around the store prior to the slip. During the mediation discussions they asked, “Why does no one else fall?”
The primary evidence available to determine whether the store was negligent had, prior to Courtroom Animation’s involvement, been inconclusive: The surveillance footage from the store was grainy and hard to make out. Due to the inability to tell whether there was a hazard from the footage, our client determined that he needed an in-depth analysis.
Solution: One Slip and Fall Animation Analysis
Despite what you see on shows like CSI, the technology to zoom in or magically enhance and improve a video’s resolution does not exist. Nonetheless, certain forensic techniques make it possible to reveal what was shown and then visualize it in a digestible manner.
An expert at forensic animation knows what to look for that could surface critical findings. Our team discovered that right before the plaintiff slipped, a store employee walked through the area and spilled a drink on the floor. However, the video was not clear enough to show the employee spilling the drink.
Our team compared a set of historic images from the footage to determine two items: First, was there a spill or other incident that had created the risk of slippage? And second, when and how did the spill occur?
Defense’s highest offer was $50K — Jury awarded $100K.
By analyzing the footage, we identified a pattern of dark colored pixels on the floor in the video at the time of the plaintiff’s fall. Then we rewound the footage, and compared the same location on the floor earlier to determine if those pixels were there before the employee passed through the area.
Our analysis confirmed that the dark colored pixels were indeed new, and did not appear before the employee passed through. This meant that a spill had to have occurred for the area on the floor’s color to change. Our team highlighted the dark pixelated areas where the employee spilled the drink, and demonstrated how other customers walking through the store had luckily managed to avoid them. That was why no one else fell except the plaintiff in this case.
At exactly one minute and six seconds, you can see the right heel of the plaintiff slide on the highlighted spill area.
With this analysis in hand, the plaintiff attorney was able to clearly demonstrate negligence. This would have been nearly impossible to demonstrate if he had only presented the low-quality surveillance footage as-is to a jury or mediator in this case.
This type of video analysis can benefit any case where surveillance footage, body worn camera footage, or any other video data is available. While this slip and fall animation supported the plaintiff’s legal team, this type of video analysis can also be helpful for defense attorneys. Early in the legal process they could have discovered that their employee had done something negligent, and decide on the best course of action.
By utilizing the conclusions drawn from the video analysis to enhance their case, the plaintiff’s legal party was able to secure a $100K verdict from the jury.
Courtroom Animation’s team of visual strategists, creators, and developers can create your slip and fall animation and analysis for any case in personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, and more.
Learn how our slip and fall animations, or other camera analysis visuals, can assist your case today.
Law Offices of Todd D. Thibodo