As your personal injury lawsuit heads to court for a hearing or trial, it is only natural to feel stressed and uneasy. While you know you need to do your best to remain calm, it is difficult when you are unsure of what to expect. After all, most people do not go to court more than once or twice in their lives.
To help you get ready for your court hearing or trial, an attorney from our personal injury law firmoffers these guidelines.
Know What to Do and Where to Go When You Arrive at the Courthouse
Just knowing where you need to go and how to get there will likely ease your anxiety. You should arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appearance. Driving to the location, figuring out your parking options, and where the entrance is will help. You may be able to bring a friend or family member unrelated to the case as moral support.
Do not forget that there may be a security line you will need to clear before entering the building, so leave yourself plenty of time. When you arrive at the courtroom, you can wait for your lawyer in the hall or enter quietly and sit in the gallery. You should be respectful and refrain from eating or drinking, looking at your phone, using earbuds, or engaging in other inappropriate activities.
Paying attention to others around you and instructions given by the court clerk or bailiff will ensure you follow proper protocol. For example, you will need to stand when the judge enters. The court staff will announce these instructions, and your attorney will also help.
What do I Do When My Hearing Is Over?
What happens next will depend on the purpose of the hearing and what happens during it. Your lawyer should review what happens next as soon as you leave the courtroom. They may need to draft a proposed order based on a ruling, or you may have to wait for a ruling to come from the judge later. On the other hand, the case may go to the jury, and you might not have a decision right away.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Tips for Preparing for Your Hearing or Trial
Some tips we often offer our clients before a court appearance in their personal injury cases include:
- Ask your lawyer if you are uncertain where you need to go and when.
- Dress neatly and be well-groomed. Wear clothing you would wear to a job interview or church. Do not wear shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, or similar attire.
- If you testify, take your time while answering each question clearly.
- If you do not know an answer, either make it clear you are speculating or say you do not know.
- Ask your lawyer to go over the questions you will likely face and practice your testimony.
In most cases, your lawyer should help you prepare without you having to ask for assistance. This process can include reviewing the documents and information about your case. In addition, the Louisiana State Bar Association recommends that all witnesses—including plaintiffs and defendants testifying in their case—take some time to prepare. Some things you may want to go over include:
- Documents you may need to review on the stand
- Other documents related to your case, such as the police report
- Your notes or photographs from the accident scene or shortly after
- Any written or recorded statements you gave in the case
Do Not Let Your Fear of Court Scare You Into Settling
Many people begin their personal injury claim adamant that they want an out-of-court settlement. They do not want to sue. Above all, they do not want to go to court. However, this approach is not always the best for every case. If your attorney recommends a lawsuit and litigating your case, you should consider the possibility.
Fear of going to court should not scare you into settling for less than you deserve in your case. If your lawyer recommends suing, they have a reason why. Moreover, they can help you understand their reasoning.
If you decide to move forward with your case and go to trial, your attorney can significantly help with what to expect. Their information about the location, courtroom, proceedings, and other details could set you at ease. They may even know the judge or opposing counsel from previous cases.
Talk to a Lawyer from Morris Bart, LLC, for Free Today
At the Morris Bart law firm, we have 15 locations and serve four states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We are a contingency fee law firm and provide free consultations for injured parties.
Call (800) 537-8185 now to discuss your legal options with one of our lawyers.
to find a Morris Bart office near you.