How Medical Illustrations Can Benefit Your Personal Injury Case
Personal injury cases are complex. Whether you were injured in a truck, motorcycle, bicycle or automobile accident, or by a defective product, or at work, the long-term impact of these accidents can change your life.
An experienced personal injury attorney uses proven legal strategies to obtain the compensation his clients deserve and are legally entitled to receive. An important component of Virginia personal injury cases involves the use of medical illustrations for complicated subjects and testimonies. They are essential to ensure that the jury understands the plaintiff’s physical injuries, his suffering, the struggles he is facing or will face in the future, and how it has affected his life and family.
Although eyewitness accounts and evidence are key factors influencing the jury’s decision, the manner in which complex aspects of a case are presented can significantly affect the jury’s verdict and award. Illustrations and medical aids may show:
- How were you hurt
- Resulting injuries
- Surgeries performed and others that may be needed
- What wounds or gear a party lives with now
- Complications and future risks
The average juror generally does not have the education or training necessary to understand expert medical testimony. Yet these medical experts are important witnesses because they help prove the severity and depth of an injury. When it’s done well, medical illustrations are powerful in personal injury cases, and, if done correctly, may be admitted in evidence. Since humans are visual learners, the use of medical illustrations helps jurors understand what is being presented and remember details when deliberating.
While medical imaging such as X-rays can describe the damages in connection with a personal injury claim, medical illustrations are much easier to understand and allow a jury to appreciate the seriousness of injuries. Medical illustrations are simplified, accurate visuals of otherwise complicated or confusing images that highlight physical injuries to the jury. This could be done through the use of an animation that shows how a body part now functions due to injury by comparing close-ups of what a healthy person’s scan is versus to the injured plaintiff and more.
Videos, drawings, 3D models, images, and animations are all types of medical illustration. The use of these aids ensures that the testimony of medical experts does not consist solely of complex medical terminology and procedures that jurors will overlook or find confusing. Instead of trying to remember the language, jurors remember what injuries and operations were like. Juries can visually remember the extent of the damage.
For example, we recently had a case where our client suffered an undisputed fracture of the radius following a serious car accident. The question before the jury was whether this fracture caused the client’s scaphoid-lunar ligament to tear, which created a permanent injury. We presented the medical illustration below to the jury:
Our medical expert explained that the fracture caused the tear, and the defendant’s expert testified that the tear was pre-existing. The above illustration was entered into evidence and the jury was able to take it into account in its deliberations.
As seen in the above medical illustration of our client’s injuries, you can clearly see the fracture line going straight into the scaphoid-lunar ligament. Our medical expert testified that the force of the accident caused the spoke to fracture and energy was carried into the scaphoid-lunar ligament, creating the tear. Without these medical illustrations, it is nearly impossible to expect a jury to understand how the ligament injury occurred and to fully appreciate the medical evidence provided by our expert. In this case, the jury could visually see the energy transfer caused by this accident – the fracture line going directly into the ligament. This illustration was instrumental in undermining the defense medical expert’s opinion that the tear pre-existed the accident and the jury quickly returned a verdict very favorable to our client.
What influences juries in personal injury cases?
Many studies have been conducted on how cognitive and human factors affect juror decision-making. It is well established that jurors often lean toward a verdict before all the evidence is presented. Since evidence and expert witnesses are essential parts of personal injury cases, the use of medical illustrations can bolster their testimony, build their credibility, and cause a juror to favor a party. This is especially important since plaintiffs present their case first and can persuade the jury even before the defense presents its case.
Storytelling is also part of an effective strategy to persuade jurors. When used with medical illustrations and photographs, the story becomes visually clear. Jurors have photos and videos that support the details of the case and the empathy created from their understanding of events. This builds a solid personal injury case.
The reality is that trials can be long and difficult to hold the attention of jurors. For this reason, cases should be presented in an engaging and memorable way. The experienced personal injury attorneys in Virginia at Curcio Law use various tools and strategies that help influence jury decision-making. We know how impactful visual information can be and use illustrations and medical aids where possible to support expert testimonials and reinforce claims. If you have suffered a personal injury, call or text Curcio Law at 703-836-3366, email [email protected], or contact us online for a free consultation.