“This technology will change the world,” how many times have we heard this? However, here it is true. This technology will change how attorneys present their case to a Court and Jury. We are talking about 3D printing.
3D printing is possible due to a combination of many technologies that over the last thirty (30) years have become more readily available. 3D printing combines elements of robotics, laser technology, and computer aided design (CAD).
Some experts believe that the invention of 3D printing is as important as Guttenberg’s creation of the movable type. Like Guttenberg the inventor of 3D printing, Chuck Hull, combined preexisting technologies to make something completely new and innovative.
Chuck Hull, created a process called stereolithography. This is a process in which layers are added by curing photosensitive polymers with UV laser. Some call 3D printing additive manufacturing because objects are created through an accumulative process. Of course, the issue is the benefits this technology can bring to trial practice and practice of law in general.
Plato spoke of the world of Ideas and forms and differentiated from the world of the material. 3D printing is blurring that line unlike any other time in history. As it pertains to the practice of law, 3D printing can materialize ideas and forms to an extent which is unprecedented in legal practice. Subjects and ideas that were once difficult to relay to a Jury have now been simplified tremendously.
Photographs or still shots of MRI’s or CT scan will no longer be difficult to relay. A 3D printout of the affected area can be produced directly from MRI’s and CT scans. An attorney or an expert does not need an electronic display or any sort of virtual model or animation to relay injuries of an affected area. This technology will become paramount and standard for cases involving bodily injury or malpractice.
However, 3D printed exhibits and evidence can be used for many other purposes beyond just issues of bodily injuries and malpractice. 3D printed exhibits and evidence can also be used for the following types of cases:
- Property damage and insurance claims
- Auto accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Boat accidents
- Criminal cases
- Homeowner’s first party insurance claims
- Construction first party insurance claims
- Cargo first party insurance claims
- Truck accident and insurance claims
Any 3D printed exhibit or evidence would be produced using a direct or primary source. In the case of an injury this would be done by using an MRI or CT scan. The MRI or CT scan would be converted into a 3D image using a program that converts the data into an STL file, or other type of file, that can be read by a slicer. A slicer is a program that reads an STL file and converts into G-Code. The 3D printer then reads the G-code and used those instructions to create a 3D object based on the original data.
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