Video Evidence in Personal Injury Cases

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Cameras are everywhere these days. If something happened – someone probably got it on video. From security cameras in businesses, to dashcams in police cars, to the cellphones glued to our hands, there’s a device ready to capture and record our every movement.

Just two decades ago, the idea of being able to play a recorded video of an event in the courtroom seemed like science fiction. Today, however, video recording is second nature to many. Absolutely anyone can do it with just the touch of a button, especially with the development of smart phones and easily attainable high definition cameras.

As a visual culture, we all know how powerful video can be. A moving picture can make us laugh or cry, make us feel and empathize with people and situations that words might not. In a personal injury lawsuit, video can be just as powerful and can be used to influence the outcome of your claim.

Video recordings can easily help resolve a case. In fact, video can altogether make or break an injury claim. Video surveillance can be especially effective at trial since it is easily permitted, understood and often entertaining. A video recording is something a jury can actually visualize and come to see as fact, not opinion, and therefore, is not subject to any bias or attacks on credibility.

As each significant claim unfolds, investigators have an ever-growing pool of sources from which to pull video and photographic evidence. Some of these sources include:

  • Inside security surveillance video
  • Outside security cameras
  • Police dashcam video
  • Police bodycam video
  • Public safety surveillance cameras
  • Truck and bus cameras
  • Camera phones

As technology continues to progress, the ways in which we gather visual information will continue to grow and progress as well. With the explosion of online, social media platforms, and the increasing desire to capture one’s life to “share” through posting, it’s no surprise that video is playing an increasing role in the courtroom, especially when it comes to personal injury lawsuits – your every move is documented.

Sometimes, this documentation and capturing of one’s life can help an injury victim, other times it can be used against them by insurance companies looking to attack a plaintiff’s claim. Whichever side you fall on (no pun intended), there are three ways in which video can be used as evidence in your personal injury case.

Videos produced for trial: These are “day-in-the-life” videos produced to convey the practical realities of your claimed injuries. Medical records and expert testimony of your physical and emotional distress can only go so far, as they can confuse a jury with abstract notions and jargon. But, if you can show a jury a video of how hard it is for you to button your own shirt in the morning or your struggle to sit at the table with your family, the message is not going to get lost in translation.

Deposition videos for impeachment: This is all about clearing up inconsistencies in given statements. Witnesses called to the stand in personal injury trials have most likely already had their deposition taken. When a witness is called to the stand and testifies to something that does not match their original statement, the opposing lawyer can use those deposition statements to impeach the witness, undermining their credibility.

If the deposition has been recorded, a video clip can be shown to the jury, instead of just reading those inconsistencies back from a written transcript. Viewing a video clip will make the stated inconsistencies much clearer and more powerful. It’s like the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Surveillance videos: Once a lawsuit has been filed, defense attorneys and insurance companies often conduct investigations and surveillance of a plaintiff. They are looking to find evidence to disprove the plaintiff’s claim, showing that they do not in fact suffer from the injuries filed.

For example, if someone claims that they are suffering from a debilitating leg injury that prevents them from walking, but an investigator catches them on video running a marathon, the video can be shown at trial, destroying the plaintiff’s case.Recordings can either show indisputable proof of a claim or totally negate it. Video is now so easily accessible that it is critical to the investigations of any serious injury case.

If you are thinking of filing a personal injury claim, contact the skilled and proven team at Coxwell & Associates at (601) 948-1600 to discuss the details of your case. We’ll schedule a no-pressure initial consultation for you and offer helpful advice that will prevent any mishaps with video or any other type of evidence.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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