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Using Visual Aids to Illustrate Key Claims in Premises Cases

The McClellan Law Firm

Instagram and YouTube have taught us that we are visual learners with limited attention spans. According to the science, our brains are uniquely attuned to visuals. We process images faster than text, recall images better than text, and engage more emotionally with images.

As trial lawyers, we are always looking for ways to better convey information. We ask ourselves: How can we make it simpler? How can we show instead of tell? How can we engage (even entertain) our audience?

This video created by our team for a premises liability case is a great example. The case involved a young child who suffered a severe brain injury after falling from a window built with a window seat that we argued should have been removed due to the dangers it posed.

Rather than say that the window seat could have been easily removed by making vertical cuts with a reciprocating saw on either side, blah, blah, blah, blah, we time-lapse recorded a removal. The result is non-argumentative, interesting to watch, and shows it being done in 20 seconds.

The window in this video was fifteen feet above an asphalt driveway. In combination with the window seat, it violated multiple building codes designed to prevent children from standing next to, leaning against, and falling out of second story windows. In the five years leading up to our case, three children had fallen out of identical window configurations in the same apartment complex, and each time the management did nothing to address the safety hazard.

After our toddler client fell out of the window and suffered a severe brain injury, we filed suit arguing that the management should have removed the window seats years ago. When the defense argued it was impractical to remove the seats, we simply showed them this video.

In the end, we resolved the case and the management removed the window seats and installed safety locks. This time-lapse is one of many visuals we used along the way.