We live in a visual world. Thanks to technological advances like smartphones, Netflix, and YouTube, the average person takes in hundreds of visual images every day. One of the main reasons news and entertainment have become increasingly visual is because video has always been an incredibly powerful way to tell a story.
The same storytelling principles apply to the practice of law, particularly in the area of depositions and testimony. When video technology was in its earlier stages, videotaped depositions were viewed by most as either an extravagance or a tool reserved only for special circumstances. Today’s advanced and affordable video capabilities have changed all that. Adding video to depositions is a common occurrence – and it can really be a game-changer for creating compelling evidence presentation.
The Benefits of Video Depositions
Video tells the whole story of your questions and answers in a way that a written transcript never can. While the legal profession is driven by words, when it comes to witnesses, actions and behavior can be equally, if not more, important.
Imagine the typical deposition. Most of it will involve fairly straightforward questions and answers. In nearly every deposition, though, there are at least a few questions when things become more tense and less clear. More often than not, these are usually the most crucial questions to your case.
It’s exactly in these instances when video can change the narrative of your case. Take, for example, a seemingly straightforward question like “Were you drinking the night of the accident?” or “Did you follow the designated procedure every time you handled a claim?” The deponent may ultimately give a “Yes” or “No” answer, and the written transcript will make the exchange look simple and clear cut.
In reality, though, there’s likely a lot more that goes into such an exchange. Important body language and vocal cues, like uncomfortably shifting, avoiding eye contact, stammering, long pauses, a hesitating tone, or looking at counsel for guidance paint a full picture of a defendant’s truthfulness or credibility, but none of those things can be captured in a written transcript. Video, on the other hand, captures it all.
When it comes time to present the testimony to a judge or jury, which version of the deposition will convey more information or be more persuasive? The context offered by a video can go a long way toward supporting your argument and ensuring that your version of the case prevails. It’s also incredibly useful if you have to impeach a witness who presents a completely different demeanor and story at trial.
Beyond the persuasive power of video, video depositions offer a wealth of practical benefits. For starters, you get a good sense of your own client’s demeanor while testifying, which can be critical to crafting your case strategies and preparing for trial. Video is also far superior to reading transcripts into evidence if witness are suddenly unavailable to testify, or in the case of experts where travel and extra court appearances can be cost-prohibitive.
The decision to add video to your depositions is a small investment that will pay huge dividends down the road. A professional video prepared by Certified Legal Video Specialists is the best way to get your message across to the people who will be deciding the outcome of your case.
Veritext is a recognized industry leader in court reporting and litigation services. With a proven track record in providing superior technology-driven deposition and litigation support services, Veritext can help you get more out of your depositions by adding video. Contact us today to learn more.