Taking another driver to court is not on everyone's radar. Even those hurt by a careless driver would do better if the situation could be dealt with outside of court. Unfortunately, not all cases settle that way (although most do). If you end up filing a lawsuit against that careless driver and taking them to court, it pays, in more ways than one, to know what to expect. Read on and find out what you need to do to be ready to take the stand and plead your case before a judge and jury.
How to Behave on the Stand
The way you conduct yourself under questioning can have a huge impact on how much monetary compensation you end up receiving. The court process puts the spotlight on you, the plaintiff, and your job is to convince the jury that you were not at fault for the wreck and that you have certain losses associated with the wreck. Take a look at some tips for dealing with questions when the attorney for the other side (the defendant) challenges your right to compensation.
- Be prepared – The best way to prepare is to listen to your legal team. They've got experience and know what you will face. They can practice with you so you'll have an idea of what to expect, and they will clue you in on what you may be asked.
- Be calm and cool – The other side realizes that getting you upset could win the case for them. Stay calm and focused, and don't let your emotions get the most of you. The more aggressive the questioning, the more impressed the jury will be with your behavior.
- Stay on point – Answer only what is specifically being asked of you. Listen carefully and think for a moment before speaking. Don't ramble, and don't guess about anything.
- Stay in command – You may be asked questions you cannot answer. If you don't understand the question or you need clarification, tell the judge. Be sure not to begin forming your answer before the question is complete. You want your testimony to be not just honest, but accurate.
How to Get Yourself Ready
In many cases, court cases take place months after an accident has occurred. That means accident victims need a refresher on the facts of the case before the trial begins. Review everything you have about the accident and your medical treatment. Reread the accident report and the witness statements about the way the accident occurred. Look at photographs of your wrecked car and your injuries. Look through your medical records to remind yourself of what you've been through and how much more treatment you need. Facts at your fingertips help you by demonstrating the many ways you've been hurt because of the other driver.
Talk to your personal injury attorney for more info.