Adrienne Leverette is a principal at Fat Pencil Studio.
When a legal dispute involves complicated information, technical jargon and/or unique physical structures, visual thinking tools can help lawyers better understand the facts of the case and better communicate their arguments to their audience. Medical malpractice law is a prime example.
Injuries and illnesses, and their diagnoses and treatments, have to be described by medical experts, who use specialized language and imagery that are typically hard for a lay audience to understand. So illustrations and graphics become an essential way to communicate key medical facts: they are a reference that can be used throughout the case to support expert testimony and leave a powerful impression on fact finders.
Sometimes an injury or condition is so unique that custom illustration is needed. In such cases, a legal team should seek out a certified medical illustrator. We often recommend Jason Laramie. However, in many cases a diagram based on medical scans or stock artwork purchased from medical publishers such as Netter or ADAM can be very effective.
We typically work with attorneys and doctors to find the best available stock artwork and then develop custom diagrams to identify affected anatomy in context, and describe a procedure or problem in detail. For example:
Similarly, medical imaging is much easier to understand when keyed to a 3d reference image. A series of these diagrams kept the audience oriented as the radiologist described what was visible in various slices.
Here is another example involving a hip fracture:
In this case, a patient claimed damages after physical therapy resulted in a hyper-extended hip. (The image at the top of this post is a force diagram from that case.) This stop-motion animation succinctly describes the problem:
And here is a simple animated diagram that describes a laryngeal mask airway, and how it is inserted into the trachea: