preparing for your personal injury court case

Going to court over a personal injury case can be an intimidating experience. Although your attorney is present and will move the courtroom proceedings forward on your behalf, it’s still important to feel comfortable going into the courtroom. Additionally, during some parts of the trial process such as providing testimony and being cross-examined by opposing counsel, you won’t have your attorney next to you to provide peace of mind. It’s natural to feel some anxiety in the unfamiliar setting of the courtroom, and as a top personal injury law firm in Wisconsin, Herrling Clark has helped many clients successfully navigate the legal process. Here are some tips on preparing for your personal injury court case. 

Do Your Due Diligence

The keys to being prepared start well before you step foot in the courtroom. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your personal injury case by:

  • Reviewing relevant documents;
  • Clarifying any questions with your attorney;
  • Going over the sequence of events and facts of the incident; and
  • Working with your attorney to anticipate questions you may be asked and how you might respond.

The last thing you want to have happen in the courtroom is to provide incorrect testimony or become flustered on the stand. Proper preparation alongside your personal injury attorney is critical to a successful outcome. Also, preparing appropriately for your day in court allows you to enter the courtroom with confidence. 

Understand Court Etiquette

Courtrooms are very formal settings where certain behaviors are expected. Here are a few pointers on how to act in court:

  • Dress professionally in clean, formal attire;
  • Address the judge as “Your Honor;”
  • Only speak when called upon;
  • Avoid sarcasm, argumentative tones, and excessive gestures – speak clearly and loudly enough for everyone to hear; and
  • Be respectful at all times to courtroom employees like the bailiffs, clerks, the judge and others.

No matter your level of experience in a courtroom, proper decorum is expected. 

Testifying Truthfully and Confidently

Perhaps the most stressful time of your courtroom experience will be if you’re called to take to the witness stand and testify. The key when taking the stand is honesty and confidence in your testimony. Here are some tips to ensure your testimony goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Take your time and be discerning with your responses. Don’t feel rushed into answering. Remember that what you say will be a permanent part of the public record of your case.
  • If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification. Don’t attempt to piece together an appropriate response to a question you didn’t understand.
  • Always respond verbally. Nonverbal responses like shrugs, nods or shakes of the head can’t be recorded by the court reporter. If a nonverbal response is given, the judge will likely ask you to answer verbally.
  • Don’t argue, just directly answer the questions asked. Arguing is your lawyer’s job, and you can rely on them to build a persuasive enough argument for a successful case outcome.
  • Only provide the details you know for certain. Avoid providing responses that are based on hearsay.
  • Remain poised and don’t get rattled by opposing counsel. Attorneys often employ tactics that attempt to throw off a witness and lead them to provide an answer that’s not well thought out. This can ruin your credibility to the judge or jury. Taking the time you need to respond is a great strategy to avoid this.
Personal Injury Representation in the Fox Valley

At Herrling Clark, we have represented personal injury victims across Wisconsin. Our attorneys work tirelessly to build strong cases and prepare our clients for all scenarios. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, put our expertise to work for you. Contact us today for a free consultation on your personal injury case in the Fox Valley area.