After you've been involved in an auto accident, there's a small chance that you end up in front of a judge. Most of the time, the case will take the form of a personal injury case, of which 4-5 percent fail to settle before the court date and have to proceed. However, when you consider that approximately 2.35 million people in the U.S. are injured in auto accidents each year, it's clear that people do frequently end up in court over an auto accident.
A courtroom appearance can be intimidating--particularly if it's your first time. There are a few things to consider, and more importantly, a few important things to avoid when you find yourself in front of a judge. Reviewing these things in advance can help you put your best foot forward in spite of the situation.
The Importance of Proper Attire
It's unlikely that the clothes you choose to wear will turn a guilty verdict around. However, not all cases are cut and dried, and the amount of a ruling can swing dramatically. Your clothing sends a clear message to the judge about whether or not you take the occasion seriously. First impressions, as they say, are critical.
For men, that means you'll want to wear formal attire. A conservative suit is a great choice--a shirt and tie is practically a must. For women, think business appropriate. Suits, slacks, and blouses are all reasonable. Regardless of gender, the intent is to show that you're put together and that you understand the importance of the situation.
Study Without Rehearsing
During your court appearance, you likely have a point that you want to make. As such, it's reasonable to rehearse an opening speech or a compilation of ideas that you'd like to communicate to the judge. You shouldn't do this. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important relate to nerves.
When people get nervous, they tend to forget things. If you're relying on a memorized script and you lose your place, you're likely to come off as incoherent. Instead of memorizing key points, take time in the days prior to your court date to refresh your key points in your head. Then, trust your ability to make those points clearly and succinctly when the time comes.
Mind Your Manners
A courtroom is a formal setting. From the moment proceedings begin, you'll need to rise in the presence of the judge and to refer to them with their honorary titles. This is the tone in which business is conducted--you don't want to disrupt that flow and bring negative attention on yourself.
The best way to fit into this environment is to mind the manners that your mother or father might have taught you when you were a child. Speak when spoken to only, and always address the judge as "sir," "ma'am," or "your honor." You won't necessarily win points by this, but you also won't lose any.
Avoid Personal Attacks
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you could become angry during the hearing. This is completely natural and expected. However, angry words tend to reduce the effectiveness of your point rather than strengthen it.
Instead, resist the urge to go below the line. Keep your voice calm and even, and remember your ability to keep your mouth shut if you become agitated. The only person you must ever address is the judge, and they're not likely to be the one making you angry. Hold your tongue, and leave the insults to the other party. You'll be better for it.
By following these simple guidelines, and other instructions from specialist at sites like http://www.lvaccident.com, you'll be certain to observe proper etiquette when in the courtroom. No matter how the case ends up, you can be confident knowing that you've portrayed yourself in the best possible light given the circumstances.Share