A Video Settlement Documentary [VSD] is an effective video tool that is specifically designed to preset the most important facts about a case as well as the current status of the parties affected by the underlying event(s). The clearest way to illustrate what a VSD is to point to the countless number of examples you have seen in you adult life when watching an investigative TV show like 60 Minutes, 20/20, and True Crime, just to mention a few.
The purpose of a VSD is to clearly and concisely convey the most important facts about the case. It is a synopsis of what your firm intends to produce at trial. The video may explore issues like liability, damages, or both while being as detailed as necessary to communicate the fact all the while of keeping in mind not to bore the viewer and loose interest.
The VSD is produced with the expectation of helping all parties to arrive at a settlement of the litigation, thereby reducing or eliminating the immense emotional trauma to all parties and to reduce the ongoing costs of trail for all parties. It is important to note that under normal circumstances, the video will never be played in a courtroom, but it is a exceptionally important part of your presentation in a mediation or arbitration. In many cases, the video settlement documentary is your entire case presentation.
While there are no thoughtful reasons why a settlement documentary can't be used by both sides in litigation, it has been my experience that primarily the plaintiffs are more prone to request the production of a video settlement documentary. Primarily, the general nature of practicing lawyers who request this type of video production are firms that focus on personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability and trucking accidents.
Because this type of video is not evidence, the videographer has greater freedom of expression in the video and is not constrained to those techniques used in a video like a deposition. As one example, the videographer is free to use close-up shots of a friend or family member who is sharing an emotional story where they are expressing tears or anger in the situation they are sharing. Likewise, wide-angle shots can be used when filming the setting of where the incident in question took place while the person being interviewed might be describing it off camera.
As for specific source materials, I have assembled a list of potential materials that could be used in the video. Although each case is different, my attempt here is not to provide an exhaustive list of materials but rather to initiate the assembling of these materials as some may require time to collect.
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