Photos, Graphs & Charts
From the advent of the analog camera to wide spread use today of the digital
camera, use of photography has long been the backbone of the trial lawyer
in the courtroom. Sadly, it was not long ago that judges routinely prohibited
the use of certain photographs at trial on grounds of prejudice. This
is especially so where the photograph graphically captures a horrific
injury sustained by a plaintiff. Fortunately, today this preclusive prejudice
is encountered with less frequency.
Indeed, digital photography today is extremely assistive to the jury. As
above, a picture is worth a thousand words. Where different parts of that
picture can be “zoomed,” thanks to digital technology, matters
not previously viewed with clarity can now be seen with ease.
Not surprisingly, most California Highway Patrol officers now carry digital
cameras in their cruisers. Officers routinely and extensively photograph
accident scenes. In fact, so thorough and helpful can digital photography
actually be, that in a recent case the Scarlett Law Group was able, through
experts utilizing digital photographs, to actually prove the impact of
two big-rig trucks as they collided with one another and thereafter strike
the vehicle in which the Scarlett Law Group’s client was a passenger.
What follows below are examples of different photographs utilized by the
Scarlett Law Group at trial.
Aerial photos are a very important piece of evidence in any automobile
accident or other personal injury case. We prepare for and go through
trial telling our client’s story so the jury can truly understand
what that client went through. As in any story, the setting is essential
to gaining context and connecting with the characters involved. Use of
aerial photography allows the jury to gain that context and connect with
our client. Pictured below are just some examples of aerial photography
recently used by the Scarlett Law Group.
Whether personally involved or not, many people have had experience with
devastating automobile accidents. The accident photos shown below are
examples of demonstrative evidence used in almost every automobile case
by the Scarlett Law Group. These photos, while shocking, are very powerful
pieces of evidence to present to a jury. A jury can hear about the damage
done to the respective vehicles in dollar amounts or the massive forces
of acceleration and deceleration acting upon each vehicle, but there is
perhaps no more powerful way to make the jury truly understand what our
clients have been through than showing them visual images of the often
times horrific damage that has resulted from a wreck. Please click on
any of the images below to bring up a slideshow of various accident photos
for each case.
Charts and graphs are a clear, concise way to convey information to a jury.
While charts and graphs can now easily be included in PowerPoint presentations
and computer animations, physical charts and graphs have a very distinct
advantage. After the use of a PowerPoint presentation, the screen goes
blank and lights come back up. Any and all information contained in the
PowerPoint presentation is no longer readily accessible to a jury until
deliberations begin. Physical charts and graphs, mounted on an easel can
remain in direct view of the jury through witness examinations, cross-examinations,
closing arguments and rebuttal. This means that a jury will be looking
at and thinking about the information we present throughout the entirety
of the trial, rather than just a few minutes.
While the Scarlett Law Group routinely uses computer enhanced graphics
to explain damage done to complex brain structures, it is also helpful
to have still images of the brain, blown up large enough in size, for
the jury to repeatedly look at throughout the trial. For instance, where
our client has suffered diffuse axonal shearing, we may utilize a blow
up illustration of the brain which demonstrates both the brain structure
and the process through which axonal shearing occurs. As was the case
with charts and graphs, blow ups have the distinct advantage over computer
enhanced animations, because they can remain in view of the jury for nearly
the entirety of trial, ensuring the jury’s understanding.
In addition to the use of select photos of the accident scene and aerial
views, photo logs are also very helpful in telling our client’s
story. Taken every few feet on a roadway, photo logs display the roadway
in segments, putting the jury in the driver’s seat in the moments
immediately preceding an often devastating collision.
The photo logs below, used by the Scarlett Law Group in a recent case,
did exactly that. The jury was able to visualize the approach of the vehicles
immediately prior to impact. These photo logs helped to establish that
the State of California maintained a dangerous condition on public property,
which lead to a substantial settlement prior to trial. The Scarlett Law
Group went on to utilize these photo logs at trial against the remaining
defendants and obtained one of the largest, non-punitive, single plaintiff
verdicts in the history of Santa Clara County.