SCIENTIFIC ANIMATION IN CIVIL LITIGATION
3d Scientific Animation is an effective weapon in the lawyer's arsenal of demonstrative evidence when liability and causation for an incident are in question. It is used primarily to simplify technical evidence and is most effective where movement and perspective are at issue. The objective of scientific animation is to "aid the court and jury in understanding and evaluating the critical case issues as determined by the expert". The animation should avoid visual deception, violation of the laws of physics, and inconsistencies with the case facts and inconsistencies with the validating expert opinion. Thus, a higher standard is required, providing technical accuracy to the animation.
Animations can be classified according to their use in court, as either illustrative evidence or substantive evidence. An illustrative evidence animation merely illustrates the reconstruction testimony of the reconstruction engineer. The requirements are that this type of animation reflects the expert's opinion and that all essential details have been illustrated correctly. Such an animation may uncover deficiencies in the reconstruction.
On the other hand, a substantive evidence animation proves, through the animation images themselves, that the phenomena depicted are true. In addition to the requirements of the illustrative evidence animation, it is essential that the simulation programs, their algorithms, and the experimental methods utilized in the substantive evidence animation are suitable. The underlying assumptions to the physical evidence have to be valid. Camera lens settings, object motion, based on the Kitchener office, is a Civil Engineer with an extensive background in transportation safety. He is a casualty claims specialist in accident reconstruction and 3D scientific animation, and also performs forensic investigations pertaining to property claims.
Recently, Saad provided a client with a 3D animation concerning a visibility issue in conjunction with an accident reconstruction. The 3-dimensional aspect of the animation was a powerful tool in demonstrating the view of each driver prior to the accident. The animation also served in discrediting one witness' evidence, and pointing out a flaw in the third party analysis.
The accuracy of the scientific animation is essential for court admissibility. Scientific animations performed by non-technical animators are a concern. The technical aspect of the theory and analysis behind the animation may not be appreciated or well understood by the non-technical animator. Although some animations may appear well done as the objects move smoothly through the scene, the movement of these objects may not be accurate and consistent with the reconstruction engineer's analysis.
Animations performed by reconstruction engineers are a better alternative. The reconstruction engineer performing the animation is aware of the technical issues involved, especially if the reconstruction was performed by the engineer. The technical quality is better and the total costs are less in this case. Animations performed by a non-engineer animator need to be validated by an engineer.
3D animation could be applied to any problem where visual representation is necessary. These would include, but are not limited to, accident reconstruction, fire investigation, failure analysis, civil engineering, environmental engineering, and human factors.
The cost of the 3D animation is time dependant Simple animations may start at $1,500, whereas complex animations with more than a single scenario and with multiple views may reach five digits. The average animation costs approximately $5,000, in addition to the costs associated with the engineering analysis / reconstruction.
Animations performed in-house as a result of an engineering analysis also conducted in-house are guaranteed to cost less than dividing the tasks between two service providers (i.e. additional engineering support / validation is minimal).
If you think that scientific animation might help your case, or if you have any questions, don't hesitate to give us a call.
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