THE COURT PROCESS

 

If you don’t agree to a settlement with the other party, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Even after filing, you can still try to negotiate with the other side. This will happen one final time before going to trial.

Your attorney will prepare and file a document called the complaint. If you do not hire an attorney, you will have to do this yourself. This document states your claims against the defendant and what damages you are seeking. Once the complaint gets submitted, your personal injury lawsuit has been “filed.” It is important to keep in mind that every state has what is called a “statute of limitations.” This means that, as an injured party, you have a set amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Connecticut, you have two years to file. The clock usually begins ticking on the day that the injury occurs.

Discovery

During the discovery process, your lawyer will research the legal claims and defenses relevant to your case. Your lawyer will send questions and document requests to the defense counsel. He or she will also conduct witness depositions. Depositions are sworn, out-of-court testimony. Discovery can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year, depending on how complicated the case is.

Mediation

Before proceeding to trial, attorneys in a personal injury case will discuss settlement one more time. If they cannot do so amongst themselves, they may attempt mediation. Mediation occurs when the lawyers and clients in a case go before a mediator to try settling the case

Trial

If your personal injury claim goes to trial, there are several events that will take place. They include:

  • Void dire.
  • Jury selection.
  • Opening statements.
  • Witness testimony.
  • Presentation of evidence.
  • Closing arguments.
  • Jury deliberation.
  • Delivery of the verdict.

The length of a personal injury trial depends on numerous factors. These factors include: complexity of the testimony, number of witnesses, amount of evidence, etc. After the trial, parties will have the chance to appeal the verdict if they choose to. For example, if you think that you should have gotten more money as compensation, you and your lawyer can appeal the judge’s decision.

Recovery

If a judge awards you compensation, you will usually receive them within 30 days of the jury’s verdict.

How To Act In Court

If your case goes to court, you will have to appear for the trial. Being in a courtroom can be very intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these guidelines to make a good impression on the judge.

Take a Deep Breath

You are expected to be nervous, especially if this is your first time in court. But, don’t be too nervous. Take a deep breath and remember that people go to court everyday. Some people – judges and lawyers – have dedicated their lives to being in the courtroom. You will be fine.

Act Professionally

The courtroom is a professional setting. As such, you should always act professionally when in court.

Be Polite and Respectful

Nothing looks worse in court than when someone is rude and impolite. It can also affect the outcome of your case. Be polite and respectful to everyone you come into contact with at court. Whether talking to the judge, the other side’s lawyer, the jurors, witnesses, etc. don’t forget your manners. You should always be on your best behavior when going to court.

Stay Still

Keep still when seated and when standing before a judge. Even if you’re nervous on the inside, staying still will give others the appearance that you are calm.

Pay Attention

Stay focused on what is happening in the courtroom. Even when you’re not getting questioned, you should be paying attention. The situation was serious enough to go to court, so you should treat it as such.

Take Your Time

Make sure that you fully understand what is said to you or what you are being asked. If you don’t hear or understand a question, ask for it to be repeated. Don’t just rush and give an answer you’re unsure of because of nerves. Remember that you are under oath and have an obligation to be honest.

Speak Slowly and Clearly

When speaking in court, be sure to do so slowly and clearly. Also, make sure that your answers are loud enough to be heard. All of these things will make you appear confident, even if you aren’t.

Remember the Judge

When the judge enters the courtroom, you must stand up and wait until he or she tells you that you can be seated. Always address the judge as “Your Honor” and stand when talking to him or her. If you are unsure or feel pressured when being questioned, look to the judge for help. It is his or her job to oversee the trial.