Friday, March 9, 2012
Is Your “Silver Tongue” Costing You Gold?
Regardless of how strong your verbal communication skills may be, visual aids can make your interactions more efficient, persuasive and effective. These enhancements to your presentations can translate into success by gaining more clients, saving valuable time with expensive experts and achieving your goals in settlement or trial.
It’s actually been demonstrated that using visual aids are 43% more persuasive than those relying on words alone*. In addition, attorneys who use medical demonstrative evidence (MDE) for personal injury and medical malpractice cases report a higher likelihood of a favorable case outcome during pre-trial vs. not using MDE at all**.
To help you better utilize visual aids in all aspects of your practice, I’ve compiled a list below showing how and when attorneys can best use MDE. I hope you’ll also check back with my blog going forward as I am committed to going deeper into many of these topics with future blog entries.
Medical Research. 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 (http://www.doereport.com) 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. Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report Approximate Cost: FREE
Client Conferences. Using medical illustrations during client conferences helps you discuss case strategy while building rapport with your client. Attorneys who use MDE at this stage demonstrate strong communications skills, helping win clients' trust and appreciation. Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report Approximate Cost: FREE
Medical Expert Conferences. 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 and can save valuable time with experts that are charging hourly. Later, you can purchase a non-watermarked version of the same MDE, if needed. Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report Approximate Cost: FREE
Plaintiff Demand Letters. 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 $119 to $139 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. Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report Approximate Cost: $119 to $139 per exhibit.
Settlement Conferences. 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 fully Custom Medical Demonstrative Evidence from MLA. 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. A brief call to MLA 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. Recommended MDE resources: The Doe Report and/or Medical Legal Art Custom Approximate Cost: $119 to $1199 per exhibit.
Mediation. 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 stock illustration, saving money while still offering a dramatic and compelling presentation. However, if you cannot find exhibits on The Doe Report that adequately present your case facts, a Custom MDE solution from MLA might be in order. Both Stock and Custom exhibits are available in a variety of media and formats. If in doubt, a Medical Visual Advisors at MLA can assist you in choosing the best MDE option, matching your communications goals to your budget requirements. Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report and/or Medical Legal Art Custom Approximate Cost: $119 to $1529 per exhibit.
Expert Depositions. 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. Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report and/or Medical Legal Art Custom Approximate Cost: $119 to $1529 per exhibit.
Trial. 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 us at 1-800-338-5954 for a free custom MDE consultation. 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. Recommended MDE resource: The Doe Report and/or Medical Legal Art Custom Approximate Cost: $119 to $1529 per exhibit.
*Wharton Research Center at The University of Pennsylvania, 1981.
**Medical Legal Art Attorney Survey, 2003.