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12/17/17

Lawyer Survey: Medical Demonstrative Evidence Improves Case Outcome

Medical Legal Art conducted a survey of fifty-one U.S. attorneys gauging their attitudes and experiences using Medical Demonstrative Evidence (medical legal exhibits, animations, anatomical models, etc.) in medical malpractice and personal injury cases. The results, collated below, reveal an overwhelmingly positive recommendation for using medical demonstrative evidence during both pre-trial and trial.

We invite you to take a few moments to read the results, and understand what your peers say about the power of medical demonstrative evidence.

Overview:
Attorneys were asked a series of multiple choice and open-ended questions relating to the use of medical demonstrative evidence during pre-trial and trial. For the purposes of the study, we defined "Medical Demonstrative Evidence" as any visual aid (such as a chart, poster, photograph, illustration, animation, computer presentation, video, etc.) used to convey information of a medical nature (such as anatomy, physiology, surgery, trauma, etc.) to an audience (such as a client, co-counsel, medical expert, judge, jury, opposing counsel, etc.).

Quantified Results:
The majority of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that, during pre-trial (i.e. demand letters, settlement negotiations, mediations, or arbitration) and trial, the following points are true:

•Conveying medical information is an important part of their case strategy.
Strongly agree 86%
Agree 12%
Disagree 2%
•Medical Demonstrative Evidence is useful in conveying medical information.
Strongly agree 71%
Agree 29%
•Using Medical Demonstrative Evidence improves the likelihood of a favorable outcome versus not using Medical Demonstrative Evidence.
Strongly agree 67%
Agree 33%
•Medical Demonstrative Evidence improves the testimony of medical expert witnesses.
Strongly agree 72%
Agree 28%
Strongly Disagree 2%
•Medical Demonstrative Evidence improves the chances for a favorable outcome during pre-trial (demand letters, settlement negotiations, mediations, or arbitration).
Strongly agree 43%
Agree 51%
No Opinion 4%
Disagree 2%
About the Respondents:
Plaintiff attorneys: 47
Defense attorneys: 4
Mean number of personal injury and/or medical practice cases per year: 26
Mean number of above cases that settle each year: 17
Mean number of above cases that would benefit from medical demonstrative evidence: 16
Mean number of hours spent online per week: 7
Mean amount willing to spend per case on medical demonstrative evidence: $402 (range = $50 to $2,000)

Testimonials on the Importance of Medical Demonstrative Evidence:
Below are actual quotations from attorneys who participated in our survey when asked to give their "thoughts" on medical demonstrative evidence:

"It is almost malpractice to attempt to explain any type of injury to a jury without some type of visual aid. The sophistication of the type of evidence is directly linked to the complexity of the injury. The goal is always to reduce the medical injury to terms that are within jurors' everyday knowledge. The use of visual aids coupled with experts' testimony can remove the "mystique" of medical terminology and secure fair results."

"[Medical demonstrative evidence] is very helpful. At pretrial, it shows adjusters and opposing counsel that I am serious about my case and spending money on it. At trial, exhibits help keep the jury interested in the case and understand the complex medical issues."

"I think demonstrative evidence at trial is crucial."

"Often [medical demonstrative evidence] can help display a concept to a jury that they ordinarily would not understand."

"The simpler, clearer, and more easy for a jury to see, the better. Also, giving jurors a hard copy of something to take into the jury room with them is critica..."

"A picture is worth 1000 words."

"[Medical demonstrative evidence] is also good for focus groups."

"Demonstrative evidence is not only helpful to me, but to my client as well. Its best use is to show the other side, the affected areas of the body and the damage/limitation imposed by the injury. To maximize the dollar recovery, I like to show PAIN or Impairment/Dysfunction of the body as a result of someone's negligence."

"It must be easy to use, comprehend."

"We are a small firm, consisting of husband and wife, located in a rural area. We do not have a large volume of cases, but we have been blessed with some excellent cases. We would like to be able to afford to use medical demonstrative evidence in EVERY case, starting with pretrial negotiations, demand letter, mediation, etc. However, many, if not most, of our cases are relatively small wreck cases, involving soft tissue injuries (usually neck or back). We need to be able to minimize the costs in these small cases where the clients may not feel they are justified."

"Using demonstrative evidence is an effective way to communicate at all stages of litigation. When I present a case to a jury, arbitrator, judge, mediator or adjuster, I try to paint pictures with words and tell a story with those pictures. Any demonstrative tool that helps do that (such as medical illustrations) not only help the presenter but help his or her audience as well."

"...in an auto accident case, medical demonstrative evidence showing the mechanics of a whiplash injury may be useful, however, if more than a couple hundred dollars, cost prohibitive. On the other hand, when dealing with a medical malpractice case with anywhere from $50-150K in expenses, good medical demonstrative evidence is essential. Dramatic, graphic depictions help inform, shock, explain, and settle cases, but their practicality is dependent upon the size of the case. Also, in a small case, you do not want to create the impression with the jury that you are all smoke and mirrors and high tech razzle dazzle. Rather than informing them, it can turn them off."

"It is helpful to get on your website and see what types of exhibits you can make. Actually seeing how any exhibit works, video, demonstrative, etc., makes a huge difference."

"We use them in depositions primarily. Assists in the logical presentation of our case."

Future Efficacy Studies:
Thank you for reviewing this document. We at Medical Legal Art intend to continue our research into the efficacy and benefits of using medical demonstrative evidence during personal injury and medical malpractice cases, and look forward to sharing those results with you.
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