Posted on: 19 January 2017
For those injured in a car wreck that was not their fault, being offered a fair and substantial settlement from the insurance company is the best-case scenario. Sometimes, however, despite the best efforts of your personal injury attorney, you may find yourself in court. While it's certainly true that you can trust your attorney to do an excellent job representing you, you should not take a back seat to the process. You are a key player in the legal team that will garner you your rightful compensation, so read on to learn about the four things that you must know before you go to trial for your personal injury case.
1. Be aware of being spied upon. It's important to keep in mind that auto insurance carriers are for-profit entities, and it's in their best interest (and bottom line) to ensure that they pay out as little as possible for claims against them and the at-fault drivers that they insure. With that in mind, you should be constantly aware of your behavior at all times, from the time you file your suit on. Insurance companies have investigators on call whose sole job is to catch you doing something that you claim to be unable to do because of your injuries. It's only natural to try to hide your infirmities and get on with life, but be aware that if you are seen out and about walking, bending, lifting, etc, those moves could come back to haunt you in court.
2. Level with your attorney. Your personal injury lawyer's ability to put up a good case against the defendants hinges on prior preparation, and this means knowing about issues ahead of time. From the very beginning of your relationship with your new attorney, you must be open, honest and forthcoming with any information that might affect your ability to get fair compensation. You can expect the other side to thoroughly investigate your criminal, employment, medical and other histories, so it's best to give your attorney a fighting chance to challenge and disarm the other side's efforts to weaken your character in court.
3. Know your facts. The personal injury process can drag out for months, and often by the time you are questioned on the stand the facts have a tendency to become fuzzy. Make it a point to review all of your paperwork, medical records, journal entries and more in preparation for the case. You want to speak confidently about how the accident has affected your life, and in some instances it may be necessary to "re-live" the event in your mind to refresh your memory.
4. Be cool on the stand. The other side is expert at rattling plaintiffs (you), so be ready for their scare tactics:
- Take your time when answering questions, there's no need to rush and this is one occasion when choosing your words carefully could literally pay off.
- Answer only what is asked; don't ramble on and try to fill silences with more useless (and potentially harmful) utterances.
- If you do get a little flustered and say something you did not mean to say, just let the judge know that you got nervous and misspoke. It may have done some harm, but your correction will be on the record.
Talk to your personal injury attorney for more tips on preparing for your day in court.Share