Can Courtroom Animation Be Used In Every Trial?

Courtroom animation is a great way of pitching your case before the jury. However, it must be noted that not all cases require them.
Courtroom Animation
Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

Using courtroom animation is an exceptional way of representing facts and information in the courtroom. They are becoming accepted in courts systems now than before. However, it must be noted that it is not appropriate in every situation. Some cases do not need animations since they can be understood. Here are some factors that can determine if your client’s case requires computer-generated animation;

The nature of the case

There are some cases where using courtroom animation would be a great fit. Examples of such cases are personal injury cases, architectural or structural defects, products liability, or medical malpractice. In these types of cases, there may be a need to explain a complex phenomenon, or the only way the facts of the case can be portrayed is through demonstrative evidence. 

For instance, if there has been a car accident, an animation may be employed to accurately depict the vehicle’s position and the point of collision. The progression and speed of the vehicle would be correctly displayed to show fault in the accused person’s action. However, except to prove a case of physical abuse leading to personal injury, an animation may not be needed in a divorce case since most jurisdictions practice a no-fault method of divorce. 

The level of complexity of the expert testimony

An expert gives expert testimony in the specified field where the wrong or omission has occurred. An expert witness can use different methods to communicate his opinion to the jury and the court. They can use graphs and charts and can even present his opinion orally. 

However, there are certain cases where only demonstrative evidence like animation can adequately portray the expert’s testimony. 

Mehjabeen (2021), in his article, Using Trial Graphics to Strengthen Expert Testimony, explained the importance of trial graphics as a tool in helping the expert witness pass his knowledge across to non-specialists. He stated that “trial graphics can also be utilized to present diverse pieces of evidence on one consistent and cohesive medium.” Whenever a case is incredibly complex, the expert witness can make it simpler to understand by using animations instead of presenting the testimony in a bland professional way. 

Courtroom Animation
Photograph by Hunters Race (unsplash.com)

The facts of the case

The facts of a case will also determine if the case would need an animation. For example, in a defamation case where one person spoke some defamatory words to the other, computer-generated animation would not be necessary to tell that to the court. However, computer-generated animations would be significant in cases where moving parts that are not visible to the human eye are involved or a progression of explosion in an oil rig. 

Sheff (2020), in his article, Animations in Personal Injury Cases, published in the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Journal, stated that “today, more than ever, animations can be an important tool at both trial and mediation. They are helpful in any case where movement or progression over time is relevant.” Therefore, computer-generated animation would be helpful in any case where there is a form of progression, movement, or gradual decadence.

The preparation of the opposing parties

When preparing to take a case to court or defend a lawsuit, you have to consider the capacity of the opposing party, especially when there is a lot at stake. 

In a situation where the opposing party is going all out in proving their case, the jury may consider you unserious if you are not putting in the same level of preparation into the case.

If it is a case where computer-generated animation is appropriate and the opposing party uses animations to prove their case, then it would be considered wise if your client also proves their case using computer-generated animation. This is especially important in cases where the facts are too complex to understand.

Hence, while deciding if your clients need trial animations in defending their case, it is pertinent to seek the advice and opinion of a professional in courtroom animations to be sure. However, in doing this, only qualified professionals should be approached to prevent the case from being jeopardized. 

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