One of the most effective ways for an attorney to present his client’s case to a jury is through video. Seasoned trial lawyers have been using demonstrable evidence for years, creating a visual landscape for jurors to decide the case. With the prevalence of technology in our society, and our one hundred forty character culture, I’m finding that jurors expect well produced and information packed visuals at trial. Whether this need is conscious or not, it is now a way of life and a fact that every trial attorney must confront. When proving your client’s damages at trial, nothing is more powerful than the day-in-the-life video.
A day-in-the-life video gives the lawyer, like a slip and fall lawyer New York, NY trusts, a great opportunity to bring to life the daily, and even minute by minute, struggles that the client endures as a result of their injury. The video is typically admitted into evidence as part of the caregiver’s direct testimony. It is very important to make sure that the videographer who is videotaping and editing, is experienced in making these videos. Inexperience or sloppiness can greatly reduce the impact the video can have.
Usually, making these videos is a three step process. First, it is imperative that the videographer conduct a thorough interview at the home of the client. This interview must include the entire family and whoever else can be of assistance in learning about the client’s true “day in the life.” After an extensive and probing interview, the videographer now knows the family and the client’s limitations and daily routine. The second prong is scheduling the day to take video. The videographer is now armed with knowledge of the daily routine, as well as, what to expect throughout the day. On the day of the shoot, he or she should typically arrive before the client wakes up in the morning and stay until they go to bed. However, that may not be necessary in most cases depending on the specific disabilities, budget, necessity etc.… Finally, the video must be edited. An experienced videographer knows that the entire video should not be more than thirty minutes. Only the most important and illustrative footage should be used. If there is too much footage, it will lose the effect. Keep in mind that jurors’ attention spans are not unlimited.
If done right, and with an experienced videographer, a day-in-the-life video can be a powerful illustrative tool to help the jury understand the full extent of your client’s injury and disability. In order to make an effective video presentation, you must be prepared to pay between $1,000 and $3,500 (or more). If your case is significant enough to need a videographer, do not let cost get in the way. Remember, your job is to maximize the client’s recovery. By not securing a day-in-the-life video, you may be doing your client a great disservice.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Okun, Oddo & Babat, P.C. for their insight into trial and legal practice.