Creating Trial Exhibits Early On - Hoping for the Best and Preparing for the Worst
Yes, it's true that more likely than not, your case will settle before trial. As an attorney in South Florida, you file the lawsuit, go through discovery and start taking depositions. You expect that at least, 75% of your case will settle before trial. But ... what about those cases that don't settle? What about the cases where the insurance adjuster is not offering a penny? What about those cases where opposing counsel files a proposal for settlement for $500? Unfortunately, many factors go into whether your case will settle ... it is not necessarily if your client is right or wrong.
BEST PRACTICE - Hope for the best but expect the worst. Although when you sign up your client, you are hoping for the best (settle the case for a reasonable amount for little to no costs) you should prepare for the worst (trial). Preparing for the worst includes preparing and lining up your exhibits. This allows you to have a smooth transition to trial and mediation and not running around the weened before trying to figure out your exhibits, how they are numbered, and what will undoubtedly have been admitted into trial. Here are some tips on how to prepare exhibits and demonstratives prior to trial:
* When you are using exhibits in depositions, number them sequentially. Use numbers or letters but do not change from deposition to deposition. In addition, once you have numbered an exhibit, keep it the same throughout all the depositions so it has the same exhibit number at trial. Continuity is key.
* If you are going to video tape depositions and employ the use of maps, aerials, etc. as exhibits make sure that the exhibit is blown-up and mounted on a trial board so the video camera can see. Another option is to use an elmo where any changes or marks made on the exhibits are clearly amplified for the camera to see.
*If your case involves damages try to create a timeline early on as to treatment. Best case scenario is that you employ a legal nurse to create a chronology events for you. This will allow our visuals demonstrative team know exactly what medical records are necessary in order to create medical illustrations for trial.
* Medical Illustrations - Have them ready for your treating physician's depositions. If your client has already had the treatment, surgery, etc. call us to prepare a medical illustration prior to your client's physician's deposition so it can be testified as to an accurate rendition of the condition and/or treatment.
*If your case has hundreds and hundreds of documents - like a medical malpractice case, make sure that your exhibits are bate stamp in sequential order. Again making it easier to log and number when putting in into our electronic data manager for easily retrieval at trial.
Not only will preparing exhibits in the ways mentioned above help your case, should you go to trial. But your preparedness and how perform at depositions and hearing will also put the insurance adjuster and defendant on notice that you are ready to go trial - you are not afraid.
These are just a few tips in prepare your case from the beginning with respect to exhibits and demonstrative. With over 30 years combined experience at APVisuals, we have probably seen it all. We are accustomed to thinking outside the box to make sure that your case runs as smooth as possible. We are also able to help with exhibit production and demonstratives from the beginning for your case to the last day of trial. If you have a new case, are headed to mediation or trial in the near future, call us to discuss how we can help you.