The Evidence Store handles herniated disc cases on a regular basis. The frequency of this type of injury has created the greatest volume of orders for exhibits and models over the years. We have developed a multi-point approach to teaching the jury about the anatomy and dynamics of a disc injury and the trial attorney is well advised to keep these key exhibits on hand routinely. Not only will they assist you in trying the case, you will be able to use them in your consultations with prospective clients, impressing them with both your knowledge of the injury and your readiness for trial.
An effective presentation starts with the doctor explaining the general anatomy of the spinal column. A juror needs to understand the various level of the vertebrae, and the purpose of the discs that cushion the bones for fluid movement.
Herniated Disc Color Exhibit
Our own creation, these 30x40 mounted and laminated color exhibits allow your doctor to explain the anatomy of a disc and the difference between normal disc structure, bulging and herniated discs. The illustration is designed to show the transverse view and the sagital view as normally represented in MRI presentations. They are available in both cervical and lumbar versions.
Herniated Disc Model
The next step is to use the L4-L5 disc model to show the anatomy in a three-dimensional presentation. The model has interchangeable discs showing normal, bulging and herniated conditions, and parallels the color exhibit for further understanding. It is important to let the jury see how the bulge and herniation pushes against the movable spinal cord in the model, demonstrating how the nerve roots then travel to other parts of the body to create the symptoms noted.
The use of a dermatome chart will assist in the presentation of the pain aspects of your client's case. Since the body is mapped out in specific regions as innervated by the spinal cord and its branches, this exhibit allows your doctor to take a red marker and color in those regions of the body that are affected by the specific injuries. The jury can then actually "see'' the pain your client is in, as the chart should match those areas of pain and numbness stated in the medical records and brought out in testimony.
MRI Print Exhibits
The doctor should select those frames from the MRI films that best illustrate the condition about which he is testifying. These frames should then be enlarged and mounted with overlays so that the jury can now see the bulge or herniation and understand its impact, having been educated by effective use of the prior exhibits. Using the exhibits in this way, in this order, creates a clear picture in the mind of the jury that you are dealing with a very real, tangible injury, and that the client's pain and symptoms are completely consistent with the objective findings on the MRI studies.