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Personal Injury

Demonstrative Evidence in a Personal Injury Trial

By August 30, 2019March 20th, 20202 Comments

Clients rely on their personal injury attorney’s experience, skill, and knowledge of the law for a favorable ruling and the highest possible award for damages. An essential element of proving damages in a personal injury case is presenting the right type of evidence. One of the ways that your attorney can prove damages is with something called “demonstrative evidence.”

What is Demonstrative Evidence?

Demonstrative evidence is used to tell your story to the court. It generally takes the form of visuals, such as pictures, objects, models, and other elements that are presented at a hearing or trial to demonstrate the concept that your team is trying to prove. Some common examples that qualify as demonstrative evidence include x-rays, anatomical models, and mortality tables.

There is a distinction between demonstrative and substantive evidence. True demonstrative evidence is meant to explain a concept, such as a torn meniscus, to the court. On the other hand, substantive evidence is used to explain an argument of fact. Examples of substantive evidence include a photograph or diagram of an accident scene or a chart showing a company’s financial information.

Demonstrative Evidence in Washington State

Washington State courts not only allow demonstrative evidence in personal injury cases, they encourage it. But that doesn’t mean that anything and everything is admissible.

To use demonstrative evidence in a case, it can’t be considered misleading. In other words, it should help the jury to better consider the issues and must be relevant.

The courts require that this type of evidence closely track the actual evidence that it is depicting. In short, you can’t have misrepresentations or exaggerations of injuries or other concepts.

If demonstrative evidence is related to expert testimony, that expert and their testimony must first be admissible before any related demonstrative evidence can be admitted. And if your demonstrative evidence is a summary of other evidence, it can only summarize admissible evidence.

Finally, most courts only allow demonstrative evidence to be used in the courtroom and not in jury deliberations. While there are exceptions, these are made at the discretion of the court.

Advantages of Demonstrative Evidence

If you can get demonstrative evidence admitted, there are several benefits to having this as part of your personal injury case. First, it helps streamline your case, making it easier for a jury to understand the issues by informing and educating them through images, models, and other objects.

Demonstrative evidence also presents a compelling narrative. In truth, some court cases can be incredibly dry and boring where the story of what happened runs the rusk of getting lost in a sea of facts. Adding visual elements to the argument creates a clearer narrative that the jury can follow.

However, you won’t be able to win a personal injury case on demonstrative evidence alone. It’s there to support other facts and evidence of the case.

Speak With a Washington Personal Injury Attorney

Demonstrative evidence can be an invaluable tool in your personal injury case. Getting this type of evidence admitted can be challenging since different rules apply to different types of evidence. You need a personal injury attorney in your corner that understands these procedures to effectively navigate the case and act as your strongest legal advocate.

The experienced Washington State personal injury attorneys at AB Law will fight for maximum recovery on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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