Three Ways Video Can Be Used – For or Against You – in Your Injury Case

Three Ways Video Can Be Used – For or Against You – in Your Injury Case

Sometimes it seems that every moment of modern life is captured on video. From amusing clips posted on YouTube, to surveillance cameras that can record a criminal act in progress, to police dash-cams that can show misconduct or incidents that can lead to protests, convictions, or changes in policy.

Given the powerful impact that a video can have, from laughter to disgust to shock to clarity, it’s no surprise that video now plays an increasingly prominent role in many personal injury cases. Showing a jury a short video that supports or undermines a claim, that demonstrates a complex or abstract concept, or that shows the impact that an injury has had on a victim can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of a personal injury case.

The three most common ways video is used in personal injury lawsuits are:

  1. Videos Made Specifically for Trial

Witness testimony about how much an injury has effected a plaintiff’s day-to-day life or how much pain the plaintiff is experiencing can be crucial to obtaining the damages sought. But in the end, they are just words; even with all the medical records and testimony on earth describing physical or emotional pain, a jury will still have to fill in the blanks in their minds about the real impact of the injury.

Compare that to a video shot showing how hard it is for the plaintiff to walk or to hug their child, or the struggle involved just to get into a car or out of bed.

Plaintiff’s will often produce such “day-in-the-life” videos to powerfully, clearly, and simply convey the realities of how the defendant’s conduct upended the plaintiff’s world, making the jury fully understand in ways that  they can relate to why the plaintiff should be compensated for such losses.

Similarly, a video may be created for a wrongful death lawsuit to show details about the victim’s life in an attempt to humanize and put a face on the devastating loss that their family has suffered.

  1. Videos Used for Impeachment

Before almost any witness takes the stand at a personal injury trial, they will have already had their deposition taken, with attorneys asking them questions under oath about their knowledge of the incident or injury in question. Depositions are always transcribed by a court reporter, but sometimes they are videotaped as well.

If, for example, a witness for the defense testifies at trial that a traffic light was green, but said at their deposition that the light was red, an attorney cross-examining the witness may “impeach” them with their contradictory deposition testimony, undermining their credibility.

If there is no video of the deposition, the attorney will use and read from the written transcript to impeach the witness. But an attorney reading back pages of testimony that the witness said months ago is simply less compelling that seeing a video of the contradictory testimony coming out of the witness’ mouth minutes after saying the opposite in court.

  1. Surveillance Videos

What video can giveth a plaintiff, it can also taketh away. A plaintiff who is claiming that they have suffered debilitating injuries that limit their mobility or ability to function day-to-day may find themselves unknowingly under the watchful video eye of insurance companies and defense attorneys who have hired investigators to conduct surveillance in the hope of obtaining evidence that will contradict the plaintiff’s claims.

If, for example, a plaintiff who is claiming that they are in constant pain and can barely move is caught on a video dancing the night away or lifting heavy boxes, that video can be shown at trial with catastrophic effect on the plaintiff’s ability to obtain compensation.

At Greening Law, P.C., the strategic use of video at trial is just one of the many ways we provide aggressive, compassionate and experienced representation for personal injury victims in Dallas and throughout Texas. Please give us a call at (972) 934-8900 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free initial consultation.

Why Some Personal Injury Cases Can Take So Long

Why Some Personal Injury Cases Can Take So Long

As a personal injury lawyer, my job is to get each of my clients the compensation they need and deserve as quickly and efficiently as possible. I work tirelessly and leave no stone unturned to accomplish these goals.

Even with such a steadfast commitment, however, some personal injury cases can take a frustratingly long time to reach a resolution.

If our justice system worked as it does on TV legal dramas, you might expect to go from your accident to a jury verdict and a check in just under an hour. The reality, however, is that many if not most personal injury lawsuits can take months and sometimes years before a settlement is reached or a judgment is entered. Even cases that may seem simple and straightforward can get bogged down for an excruciating amount of time.

There are many reasons why personal injury cases can sometimes take a while. Two of the most common are:

The Discovery Process

In order to succeed at trial or put yourself in the strongest position to obtain a favorable settlement, you need to know all the facts, get the testimony of witnesses, and obtain all of the evidence, whether favorable or not. This process is called “discovery.”

After a personal lawsuit is filed, the plaintiff and defendant exchange requests for relevant or potentially relevant information and evidence. This can include written questions called “interrogatories,” as well as requests for documents. These documents need be reviewed both by the party providing them as well as the party receiving them. Some cases can involve the review of thousands upon thousands of documents.

Numerous depositions will be taken as well. The parties, witnesses, treating physicians, subject matter experts, and others will all need to appear and testify under oath, answering questions in sessions that can take hours and even days. Arranging schedules that accommodate the witnesses and the lawyers, making travel arrangements, and taking care of other logistics can stretch this process out for a long time. When expert witnesses are involved, they may also need the time to prepare reports.

This lengthy process can become even more so if the parties find themselves engaged in discovery disputes, such as whether certain requests were proper, whether the other side has provided all of the information requested, or whether there were issues involving how a deposition was conducted.

While discovery can take a while, it is an absolutely essential part of any personal injury lawsuit and can have a significant impact on the success of your case. Attorneys can push to move the process along as swiftly as possible, but it cannot be avoided.

Insurance Companies

When an insurance company is involved on behalf of a defendant, as is the case in most cases, their main goal is to pay as little as possible or pay nothing at all. To accomplish that objective, they may try to get an injury victim to settle on the cheap early on before a lawsuit is filed. This is why you should never negotiate with an insurance company without first speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Once a lawsuit is filed, however, it can become in their interest for the case to drag on, as they try to find ways to avoid or minimize liability or perhaps wear down a plaintiff who simply wants to get what they need to move forward with their life.

Additionally, crowded and overscheduled court dockets can lead to long delays and scheduling challenges, even though the vast majority of cases are settled before trial.

Justice sometimes may not be swift, and the wait for a resolution of your injury case can be excruciating. Rest assured, though, that as your Dallas personal injury lawyer, I will never waver in my efforts to move your case toward a positive and successful outcome as soon as is possible without compromising your rights or your recovery.