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Printable Version

How to Use Medical Demonstrative Evidence ("MDE") in Your Practice
for Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice and Worker's Compensation Cases

Medical Demonstrative Evidence, or MDE, including medical illustrations, animations, anatomical models and computer presentations, helps attorneys and their expert witnesses communicate medical information, clearly and concisely, to a lay or professional audience.

At every step of a personal injury or medical malpractice case, it falls on someone to explain details of human anatomy, physiology, trauma and/or surgery. Some attorneys say: "That's what I pay my medical expert for," or "I know enough about my client's medical condition to explain it to a judge or a jury." However, no matter how good you or your medical expert are at talking about medical issues, using a visual aid during your presentation will increase your persuasiveness and ability to educate your audience.

Presenters using visual aids are 43% more persuasive than those who rely on words alone.*
Presenters using visual aids experience 400% higher information retention from their audiences than presenters who deliver purely verbal presentations.**
Attorneys who use MDE for personal injury and medical malpractice cases report a higher likelihood of a favorable case outcome during pre-trial and trial vs. not using MDE at all.***

Each day, more attorneys discover how effective MDE can be when used during personal injury, medical malpractice and worker's compensation cases. For your education, we have compiled a list showing how and when attorneys use MDE, along with recommended resources for no-cost and low-cost options.

1. Medical Research (Anatomy, Surgery, Trauma, Pathology, Physiology, et. al.)
Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report
Approximate Cost: FREE
During your initial case research, you will find that medical illustrations are highly useful in educating yourself and others on the medical facts. The Doe Report offers you access to thousands of medical images created for previous legal cases, so you can research both the medical facts of your case, as well as the presentation strategies of other attorneys who have handled similar cases in the past.

The Doe Report is the world's first and largest regularly updated visual database of Medical Demonstrative Evidence, with subjects ranging from anatomy to pathology to surgery to trauma, covering virtually every medical specialty and subject area pertaining to tort law. As a research tool, The Doe Report contains more comprehensive and relevant visual references than 20 medical textbooks, and its archives are updated on a daily basis, so you can often find different variations on subjects by searching from day to day. For personal injury, medical malpractice and worker's compensation issues, this resource is invaluable.

Accessing, searching and downloading watermarked medical exhibits and illustrations from the entire 13,000+ image library of The Doe Report web site is, as of this writing, still free although this may change as competitors publish pay per view versions of other medical exhibit databases.

2. Client Conferences
Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report
Approximate Cost: FREE
Using medical illustrations during client conferences helps you discuss case strategy while building rapport with your client. MDE is a dramatic, visual reference that clients can easily imagine being used with impact in future aspects of their case. Attorneys who use MDE at this stage demonstrate strong communications skills, helping win clients' trust and appreciation.

3. Medical Expert Conferences
Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report
Approximate Cost: FREE
Watermarked versions of exhibits from The Doe Report can be freely printed to assist you while conferring with your expert. MDE helps bridge the knowledge gap between you and the expert, providing a point of reference for you to have a more complete understanding of the case facts. Later, you can purchase a non-watermarked version of the same MDE, if needed.

4. Plaintiff Demand Letters
Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report
Approximate Cost: $99 - $149 per Medical Exhibit
High quality non-watermarked, letter-sized images can be added to your demand letter to make your presentation instantly more dramatic, compelling and informative while showing your opponent that you've done the background research necessary to aggressively pursue the matter. With an approximate cost of $99 to $149 per medical exhibit, the return on investment is typically high enough that you can justify the use of MDE for every personal injury, medical malpractice or worker's compensation case with an anticipated settlement value exceeding $10,000.

5. Settlement Conferences
Recommended MDE resources: The Doe Report
and/or Medical Legal Art Custom
Approximate Cost: $99 - $1050 per Medical Exhibit
In the same way MDE improves demand letters by making them more compelling, dramatic and persuasive, the same holds true for settlement presentations. In the case of settlement conferences, however, your budget might warrant an additional investment in a customized stock exhibit from The Doe Report or a full Custom Medical Demonstrative Evidence from Medical Legal Art. In cases where your client's medical condition involves very specific injuries, surgery or pathology, and the expected settlement value exceeds $60,000, you can justify the cost of a custom medical illustration to depict and dramatize your specific case facts. While a stock exhibit may be sufficient, you may not find an item on The Doe Report which precisely matches your case facts. In such cases, a brief call to Medical Legal Art at 1-800-338-5954 lets you speak to a highly trained Medical Visual Advisor who can revise an exhibit from The Doe Report to meet your needs, or who can design Custom MDE based specifically on your case facts. There is never any cost or obligation when receiving a custom proposal, so there is no reason not to investigate this option in all cases involving medical issues.

6. Mediation
Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report
and/or Medical Legal Art Custom
Approximate Cost: $99 - $1450 per Medical Exhibit.

In pre-trial arenas such as mediation, when the rules of evidence are much more lenient, you can sometimes take advantage of lower-cost stock MDE from The Doe Report, saving money while still offering a dramatic and compelling presentation. However, if you cannot find exhibits on The Doe Report that adequately portray your case facts, a Custom MDE solution from Medical Legal Art might be in order. Both Stock and Custom exhibits are available in a variety of media (illustrations, animations, computer presentations, etc.) and formats depending on your presentation needs. If in doubt, the Medical Visual Advisors at Medical Legal Art can assist you in choosing the best MDE option, matching your communications goals to your budget requirements.

7. Expert Depositions
Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report
and/or Medical Legal Art Custom
Approximate Cost: $99 - $1450 per exhibit. Animations and computer presentations are priced according to the number of hours needed to complete the MDE.

Strategically, you should consider preparing your MDE early and with the assistance of your medical expert so that it can be used during your expert's deposition. MDE helps your expert transform a potentially dry, technical discussion of case facts into a dramatic and informative presentation of your position. Also, consider the rules of evidence in your jurisdiction: normally, you will have far greater success with admissibility of your MDE during trial if it is discussed and approved during an earlier expert deposition.

8. Mock Trials and Focus Groups
Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report
and/or Medical Legal Art Custom
Approximate Cost: $99 - $1450 per exhibit. Animations and computer presentations are priced according to the number of hours needed to complete the MDE.

In order to get an accurate response from your mock jury or focus group, your presentation will have to mirror exactly what you plan on presenting in trial, including MDE. If your case involves a high degree of specific injuries, surgeries or pathology, and if the commensurate monetary awards are expected to be high (which is usually true when employing a mock jury or focus group), you should consider Custom MDE created expressly for your case.

9. Trial
Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report
and/or Medical Legal Art Custom
Approximate Cost: $99 - $1450 per exhibit. Animations and computer presentations are priced according to the number of hours needed to complete the MDE.

In some instances, a stock medical exhibit may be perfectly sufficient for trial, especially if your client has a common injury, pathology or surgery, or if your medical expert wants to discuss normal anatomy or physiology as part of your case strategy. However, if you are not able to find MDE matching your client's medical condition, call Medical Legal Art at 1-800-338-5954 for a free custom MDE consultation. The Medical Visual Advisors at MLA are highly trained medical communicators with over a decade of experience in creating accurate and dramatic presentations for trial. In fact, no other company in the world creates and sells more custom MDE than MLA, as the company handles over 3,000 cases annually. Since there is never any cost or obligation when receiving a custom proposal, we recommend investigating this option in all cases involving medical issues.

*Wharton Research Center at The University of Pennsylvania, 1981.
** Minnesota Management Information Systems Research Center, 1986.
***Medical Legal Art Attorney Survey, 2003.












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