In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and personal injury cases, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
Can Videos Assist In Winning Your Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A quick Internet search will reveal that there are dozens of video production firms that specialize in the creation of personal injury videos for the purpose of using them in legal proceedings. This list of legal proceedings includes arbitration, mediation, and litigation. However, is it considered appropriate to go all celluloid during a personal injury claim?
A video can be used to demonstrate exactly how the injuries sustained in an accident have affected a plaintiff or exactly how an accident occurred. Furthermore, a video can be invaluable to a decision maker, like an arbitrator, judge, or juror. At the same time, these videos can be challenged on a variety of legal grounds.
Here are just a few of the most common types of videos seen within personal injury lawsuits and claims, as well as their pros and cons:
§ The Deposition Video. A deposition video enables jurors to examine a witness’s body language, and it also functions as a powerful means of detecting witness impeachment. However, if you believe that you could put on a Lil Wayne worthy performance in a deposition video, then filming this type of video could potentially cause more harm than good. Moreover, you should bear in mind that body language that has been videotaped could potentially be misleading for some individuals. For example, the videotaped body language of a disabled person, a person with social anxiety, or a person who speaks English as a second language could be misinterpreted if jurors cannot place it in context.
§ The “Day In the Life” Video. The ultimate goal of a “day in the life” video is to document a plaintiff’s daily routine. In doing so, it provides a jury with a visual, comprehensive outlook on how the victim’s injuries have impacted their daily life. It also offers a method of demonstrating the difficulties the victim faces in completing everyday tasks.
§ The Wrongful Death Video. A wrongful death video essentially serves as an “in memoriam” homage. It examines the life of a victim and demonstrates how their sudden passing has negatively affected the lives of their friends and family members. This type of video excels at adding a personalized touch to a wrongful death lawsuit; however, it’s the injury or financial loss that is the primary measure of damages in this type of claim. Tugging at a judge or jury’s heartstrings is only going to get you so far. What is going to be the most useful is demonstrating how the death of the victim has financially impacted their family.
§ The Accident Reconstruction Video. This type of video employs visuals and expert testimony to bring to life exactly how an accident occurred, and it can be an invaluable tool in determining who is at fault and who is responsible for paying monetary damages. These visual aids are evidence, such as police reports and photographs taken at the accident scene. The primary downside of using this type of video is that it can raise potential issues regarding hearsay evidence.
Video Surveillance In Personal Injury Claims
While video can be a valuable tool for the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, video surveillance is often employed by defendants and their insurance providers to try and disprove a victim’s claims of injury or disability. In most instances, insurance providers will hire private investigators that will follow and film a plaintiff in the hopes of obtaining video evidence that would prove a defendant is not as injured as he or she claims.
The primary issue with defendants who employ video surveillance is that the individual who is filming has the opportunity to shut off the camera at their discretion, which prevents others from viewing a plaintiff’s actions with the correct context. A private investigator could follow a plaintiff for days just to obtain a couple of minutes of footage of the victim performing a particular activity. Naturally, the videographer will not be present the next day to film the plaintiff if he or she is in pain from overexerting themselves.
Is Video Evidence Admissible In a Court of Law?
In addition to the issues surrounding hearsay evidence, another hurdle that must be cleared is having a personal injury video admitted into evidence in a New Hampshire court of law. Generally, before a video will be admitted into evidence, the plaintiff must prove that:
§ The personal injury video is 100% authentic (e.g. it has not been manipulated or staged).
§ The video in question is relevant to understanding a critical element of the plaintiff’s case.
§ The probative value of the video outweighs its potentially prejudicial aspects (e.g. the truth is not hindered by the use of emotionally charged evidence).
Whether or not a personal injury video can be used in your unique case is going to depend primarily upon what you are trying to prove and the specific facts surrounding your case. You should always bear in mind that the defendant and their legal counsel can object to your use of video on a variety of legal grounds.
The Importance of Experienced Legal Representation
The use of video evidence in a New Hampshire personal injury claim or lawsuit can be a double edged sword. In order to decide if creating a video would help or hinder your case, you need to have a skilled and experienced New Hampshire personal injury lawyer working on your behalf. This is where our law firm can step in to offer their assistance.
With decades of combined experience within the arena of NH personal injury law, each of our personal injury attorneys will diligently analyze each facet of your case, answer any questions you might have, and recommend an appropriate course of action - including whether or not video evidence would be helpful to your case. Your initial consultation is free, and we can be reached via telephone, email, or through our website. Because time is of the essence in personal injury claims, don’t delay.
Serving all of New Hampshire. Offices in Nashua, Manchester, Concord, and Portsmouth.
This site does not constitute legal advice. An attorney client relationship is formed only after an agreement is entered into between an Attorney of Liberty Legal and a client is reached. Past results do not guarantee future results.
Disclaimer: Some cases are referred to other law firms with consent of client.
Liberty Legal Services PLLC. Main office: 250 Commercial St #3020 Manchester NH 03101. (603) 262-3196