3D Printed Injury Exhibits as Persuasive Evidence in Modern Courtrooms


3D printed evidence of injuries presented in a Courtroom as demonstrative evidence may seem avant-garde. Frankly, nothing seems further from the truth. Presenting 3D printed exhibits in Courtroom should be fairly standard. These are just representation in different format of already proven technologies like MRI’s and CT-scans and the like. We mentioned in previous blogs that 3D printed representations of injuries are already being relied upon by prominent physicians. Indeed, if this is good enough for Medical Doctors, then it should be more than sufficient for Courts to rely upon

As a courtesy to our clients this is an issue we will explore in depth in upcoming blogs. In this blog, we would like to make a comparison to another avant-garde technology which began it use in American Courts back in the 1850’s. This revolutionary technology was called the photograph. Indeed, it was a bit controversial when it first became available in Court Rooms as a form of evidence.

“To put it crudely, judicial response to the photograph brought into existence that category of proof we now know as demonstrative evidence.” The Image of Truth: Photographic Evidence and the Power of Analogy, (Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 1).

Before the photograph, legal evidence usually consisted of mostly written documents and testimony. Indeed, the photograph has opened the way for all sorts of new mediums of evidence like x-rays, videos, animation, MRI’s, and CT-scans. Note, that some of the above referenced mediums may come in as substantive evidence. However, our focus here has been on demonstrative use only. In future blogs we will discuss the possibility of use of 3D printed exhibits of injuries being presented for substantive use.

As it stands, it appears that 3D printing proof or exhibits of injuries will become as common as the use of photographs and still images of injuries being presented in Court Rooms today.  It was even understood in the 1850’s that photographic evidence could be more eloquent then words as presented by an “American Photographic Journal…report[ing] that in France, ‘the lawyers are using daguerreotypes as a means of convincing the judge and jury more eloquent than their words.’” Id.

The first case to take up the use of photographic images stated the following:

Under proper precautions in relation to the preliminary proof as to the exactness and accuracy of the copies produced by the art of the photographer, we are unable to perceive any valid objection to the use of such prepared representations. Marcy v. Barnes, 82 Mass. (16 Gray) at 163.

This is very similar to standards for demonstrative evidence in the State of Florida cited in our previous blogs.

The photograph has opened the way and created standards by which Judges admit new types of demonstrative evidence. Our goal is to show that 3D printed evidence is more reliable than photographs and should have no issue being admitted into Courts as demonstrative evidence.





3D Printing Injury Evidence for Use in Courts

SpinePrint   3D printed evidence has been used for presentation of evidence to Juries pertaining to criminal matters.  3D printing technology has been used to create foot print impressions, enlarged 3D fingerprints, and even inspect internal injuries caused by bullets and stabbing. Therefore, it is not a technology that is not totally unfamiliar in Court Rooms.

It may not be a technology that is commonly used in court rooms at this time, but it certainly should. The information provided by 3D printed evidence is extremely accurate. Indeed, it is more accurate than any other sort of demonstrative or even substantive evidence pertaining to injuries. That is because 3D prints of injuries are based on data coming from scientifically established technologies like MRIs. However,  a 3D printed injury is much more accurate than a blow up of an MRI still or X-ray. A 3D printed injury presents layers of complex data that cannot be represented by a simple still picture. It’s as close as one can get to injury without needing to perform surgery.

This technology is so accurate that it being used by cardiologist and cardiac surgeons to treat patients with complex heart issues. Certainly, if this technology can be relied on by cardiac surgeon, then it should be sufficient for a Jury to evaluate and consider as evidence. Some argue that Federal Rule of Evidence 403 may bring a challenge:

“Perhaps more importantly, Federal Rule of Evidence 403 and its state-level counterparts may create evidentiary challenges. For example, in Commonwealth v. Serge the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania encountered a challenge to the use of a computer-generated animation used at trial to depict the prosecution’s theory of the fatal shooting. 586 Pa. 671. According to the defendant/appellant, the cost of creating the animation and its use of a combat-style crouch were unfairly prejudicial.”

Challenges to 3D printed exhibits could be made, but will most likely fall short.  This can be seen in the above example where a 3D simulation is let in. Note that 3D printed injury is not a simulation, but an exact representation of an individual’s anatomy.

It is hard to argue that this evidence is prejudicial when physicians are using it to the benefits of patients. By the same token, 3D printed evidence of injuries can assist a Jury better understand injuries. It may be simpler for a jury to understand a physical object, then to comprehend a confusing blown up image on a cardboard.

In Florida it is required that a demonstrative exhibit, “constitute an accurate and reasonable reproduction of the objects or matters involved in the actual case.” Brown v. State of Florida, 557 So. 2D 527 (FLA 1st DCA 1989). Certainly, this standard has to be met by a 3D printed images that are created using accurate data derived from tried technologies like MRI’s and CT-scans.

3D printed evidence is extremely accurate and will help get your point across to a Jury. We are here to assist with your 3D printed injury evidence needs.

3D Printed Exhibits and Evidence

3D Printed Evidence “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.

We are here to assist you with all your 3D exhibit and printing needs. Visit 3DPrintedProof.com.