Are Legal Animations Powerful Outside Courtrooms?

Legal animations are known for their phenomenal impact in resolving cases in the courtroom. Beyond the walls of the court, they are also a game-changer.
Legal Animations
Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

One of the major ways of adducing evidence before the court of law is through legal animations. The increasing popularity and effectiveness of legal animations as visual aids has garnered a lot of attention, thereby leading to various definitions of this subject matter. Legal animation uses computer graphics, scientific methods, and data to recreate a crime scene usually presented as evidence in a legal resolution, whether in court or out-of-court settings.

The Powerful Impact of Legal Animations within the Court System

Legal animation is popularly used in cases solved within the four walls of the court. It has helped win various cases ranging from road accident cases, murder cases, and patent infringement cases.

In an article by Gerald A. Klein titled Animations – Star Wars Technology in the Courtrooms, legal animation is noted as effective in court cases with peculiar characteristics such as “automobile accidents, patent infringement, construction defects, aviation, and toxic torts cases” because they mainly involve “concepts of motion.” 

According to the article, legal animations are used to “spice up trial presentations” in cases such as automobile cases which “almost always involve issues of time, speed, distance and visibility which are often difficult to explain using static photographs or a chart depicting a split second in time.”

Is Legal Animation of Any Use beyond The Courtroom?

It would be pure ignorance to limit the usefulness of legal animations to the walls of a courtroom. Placing this limit will considerably reduce the benefits you can acquire from the full use of the potential of legal animations. Just as legal animation can be used in court cases, it can also be used in cases settled through alternative dispute resolution. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to different methods and techniques that can be used to determine a case outside of a courtroom.

According to an article by Rocket Lawyer, ADR “provides a confidential and alternative method of tackling legal disputes which avoids going to court.” 

Alternative dispute resolution includes mediation, conciliation, adjudication, and arbitration. Just as evidence is adduced in court cases, both parties must also use the evidence to establish their claims. The use of legal animation in portraying or recreating the facts of a case is not ruled out in cases settled through alternative dispute resolution.

Furthermore, the effect of legal animation does not become depleted when used in ADR. It is as powerful as it would have been if used in the courtroom. Abramson (2007), in his article, Use of Animations and Video Presentation in Mediation: A Case Study, stated that “since the vast majority of civil cases settle prior to trial, and most often as a result of mediation, we believe it is necessary to devote virtually the same time and effort to mediation preparation as we do for trial.” He stressed the vast difference a legal animation can make on cases settled through mediation with millions of dollars awarded as damages.

Legal Animation in Court or outside the Court: Which is More Productive?

A case can either be settled in court or through alternative dispute resolution. Most civil claims get settled in ADR before recourse is taken to court. However, it should be noted that not all cases tried under ADR get settled, and there may be a need to try the case before the court. Hence, it becomes essential to strategize. With the help of an experienced attorney, this process can become easier. If it is apparent that the case will be settled through ADR, then all essential evidence, including legal animation, must be used.

However, if there is a high chance that the case cannot be settled out of court, it is best to save the best for the last. That is, the legal animation should be set aside for the courtroom. If all the evidence is already exhausted at ADR, the other party may have a higher advantage. After all, they would be aware of all your evidence and would have the opportunity to prepare a strong rebuttal.

In conclusion, it should be noted that legal animation is as productive in the courtroom as in ADR. Therefore, care must be taken to follow the provision of the federal rules of evidence or the rules of evidence that pertain to the specific jurisdiction to ensure admissibility and take notice of the proper strategy to use depending on the peculiarity of each case.

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