Visual Aids and Demonstrative Evidence are an excellent way for Experts to explain complex medical, financial and technical issues to juries. Listening to Finance Experts expand upon how damages were calculated in real estate litigation or to Medical Experts explain a botched surgery is often not enough. For hard to follow testimony, visual displays or demonstrative evidence, such as charts, drawings, graphs, and models can be essential to capturing and maintaining a jury’s attention.
In their book entitled, “Expert Testimony,” Steven Lubet and Elizabeth I. Boals suggest that there are Six General Rules for using visual aids in the courtroom.
- Keep It Simple – too much information can overload the jury.
- Only use information essential to the case and easily demonstrated.
- Obtain professional assistance in drawing and developing visual displays.
- Work in conjunction with the attorney – the visual aids may be subject to legal or procedural rules that govern their use.
- Be sensitive to the judge and his/her acceptance of digital technology displays – confer with counsel.
- Be sensitive to the impact of graphics – an enlarged photo of a bloody bullet trajectory may be too disturbing for a jury. A drawing may get the point across and also be less offensive.
As technology progresses, litigation is becoming increasingly more complicated for juries to understand. Using demonstrative evidence and visual aids and following these general rules can mark the difference between a case won and a case lost.