Although most personal injury cases settle out of court, a few cannot be resolved without a judge. If you have an impending court date for your personal injury case, being nervous is understandable. You have a lot riding on this case, after all.
You can help to curb the nerves and increase your chances of success by preparing yourself ahead of time. Here are some things you can do.
Consult with your lawyer
Your personal injury lawyer will be by your side every step of the way. Use that to your advantage when preparing for your appearance. Discuss the proceedings with them and ask as many questions as you can ahead of time.
A good personal injury lawyer will take the time to prepare you both mentally and physically for your case. They will make you feel valued and in control of the situation, even when you’re going through a stressful time in your life.
After talking with your attorney, he or she will likely offer you a lot of advice. Listen to it. Your attorney has done this before and knows what’s best.
Hire a court reporter
Even though hiring a court reporter is an extra expense, you’ll be glad you did it. A qualified court reporter will record the proceedings in real time so that testimonies may be read back to you during a deposition or court case, and you’ll have transcripts of the proceedings sent to you without delay.
Accuracy in your lawsuit is absolutely imperative, and you can’t always rely on the digital recordings provided in the courtroom. Court reporters have the expertise you need to correctly transcribe your court proceedings and get everything down correctly. You can also make corrections or strike sentences from the record before they become permanent.
You can find an agency anywhere to supply you with a good court reporter, even if you live in a different city than where they’re headquartered. This means that even if you’re in Miami, you can use court reporters in Fort Lauderdale to give you an accurate reading of your court case.
Rehearse your testimony
Knowing what you’re going to say during a deposition helps to minimize the nerves and make a good impression on the judge. It also prevents you from leaving out details that might be essential for the case while preventing you from saying something that could be incriminating.
Write down your testimony several weeks in advance so that you can improve it over time. When you believe everything is accurate, have your attorney look it over. With his or her stamp of approval, memorize your testimony as best you can so that you don’t stumble in the proceedings.
Along with practicing your testimony, work on controlling your emotions. A personal injury case can be a very trying time, but crying uncontrollably in the courtroom may be unacceptable if you have an unsympathetic judge. Practice schooling your emotions and thinking about something that makes you happy to curb disruptive emotions.
Dress for success
What you say and do during a court case are ultimately most important, but appearances do matter. People, including the judge and potential jury, will derive a first impression within the first few seconds of meeting you. The way you dress can strongly influence what they decide about you.
For example, if you show up in a sloppy, ill-fitting outfit with unkempt hair, you’re likely to give the impression that you don’t really care about this case. On the other hand, if you show up dressed in a well-fitted suit, well-groomed, and smelling great, you’re more likely to have a judge and jury sympathetic to your claim.
Your court appearance shouldn’t be a source of stress for you with everything else you have on your plate. As long as you’re prepared, you’ll do the best you can and feel good about your experience, no matter the outcome of your case.