DAY-IN-A-LIFE VIDEOS – SOME FAQS
IN WHICH CASES ARE DAY-IN-A-LIFE VIDEOS APPROPRIATE?
It will only be the more serious cases. Generally, it will be cases where there is sufficient ongoing disability to be usefully captured and conveyed on video. This will cover more serious brain injury cases, spinal injuries and amputation cases. It may also be suitable in serious orthopedic cases.
There may be specific issues upon which the evidence is required (such as OT needs, accommodation, the level of care (e.g. 2:1?) or therapeutic provisions such as hydrotherapy and sensory stimulation) or it may simply give a more rounded impression of the claimant’s disabilities and day-to-day life. This is all part of the evidence you should use to prove a claimant’s case not just to a judge, but also to a defendant and its insurers and lawyers.
IS IT EXPERT EVIDENCE?
Although we are not lawyers, our understanding is that the video evidence we give will be treated as part of the factual evidence. We are professional witnesses, not expert witnesses. You do not need the Court’s permission to adduce it any more than other sorts of factual evidence.
WILL WE BE OBLIGED TO DISCLOSE THE EVIDENCE?
Again, we are not lawyers (!), but we believe you can treat our evidence as you would other potential lay witnesses. You could choose not to rely upon the evidence we produce and not have to disclose it.
ARE THE COSTS GOING TO BE RECOVERABLE?
The cost of the video should be part of your bill in the usual way. If, as we expect, the video is a relevant part of the factual evidence, you should be able to recover the costs of obtaining it. We can provide some additional material if you do have to justify the fees at a costs budgeting hearing or detailed assessment of costs.
As long as you have picked the right cases, most judges will be persuaded that the evidence is reasonable to obtain and proportionate in cost. As the evidence will only be obtained in the more serious cases, our fees will no doubt be a very small proportion of the overall bill.
We are happy that our fees are competitive, reasonable and proportionate.
Of course, there has been very recent and explicit support for such evidence in High Court decisions:
- E (a child) v Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 97 (QB) Mrs Justice Laing;
- A (a child) v University Hospitals of Morecombe Bay NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 97 (QB)
Mr Justice Warby; and,
- J v United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust  923 (QB) Mr Justice Foskett.
WHAT WILL BE THE FORMAT OF THE EVIDENCE?
Of course, the raw footage will need to be expertly edited, not to distort the reality, but rather to bring it to the fore. Moreover, the footage needs to be organised into a digestible and accessible format, with chapters enabling the viewer to navigate easily. In most cases, it will be appropriate to have a relatively short summary of all the footage, various chapters (such as transfers, mobility, personal care, food and drink, accommodation, transport etc.) and also the option to watch the entire edited footage. We can keep the unedited footage or provide it to you to manage.
We can provide the video in a number of formats, such as USB, DVD or securely hosted online (protected by passwords and perhaps only available for a fixed period of time). This will enable you to give access to all those who need it with great ease, be they judges, solicitors, counsel, insurers or experts.
The video evidence will be introduced by a relatively short and simple witness statement which we can draft, which will explain when Justin attended, what he filmed etc. and then exhibit the footage itself.
AT WHAT STAGE ARE THESE VIDEOS BEST OBTAINED?
This is, of course, a matter for you and will depend on the circumstances of the case. We anticipate that you may well want to consider obtaining the evidence around the time you consider instructing a care expert.
This will be usually when you are starting to put together a valuation of the claim, even if only for a large interim payment. At the latest (generally), you will want the evidence to be available to serve with your lay witness statements as you follow the timetable to trial.
In the most serious and long-running cases, you may want to update the evidence later in the proceedings. For example. You may obtain a video before securing a large interim payment to enable the claimant to move to appropriate accommodation. You may then want to update the evidence, after the move, before the case is concluded.
WHY NOT JUST ASK THE FAMILY TO USE CAMCORDERS OR MOBILE PHONES?
With respect to family members, it is not their role to become evidence-gatherers for a claim. They will not know how properly to capture the detail required for this evidence to be effective. They may well not film the important parts of the day or will not film from the correct angles or with effective lighting. Inappropriate dialogue with the claimant or others may be included. The quality is likely to be poor and amateurish.
They will also not be able to do a proper job of editing and organising the footage. We believe that when you see the quality and clarity of our films, it will become immediately obvious that friends and family are not going to be able to achieve this. We believe it would be inappropriate to put the burden for such important evidence onto the shoulders of those close to the claimant or even the lawyers they instruct.