If you're the victim of a careless driver, there is more than one way to be compensated. You can settle your case directly with the other driver by filing a claim against them or you can take them to court. While settling a case is faster and can be less expensive, that option is not always available. If you and the other party disagree on the amount of the compensation, your injuries, the fault of the drivers, or any other aspect of the claim you may have no choice but to pursue the matter in a court of law. There is much you can do to prepare yourself for the courtroom experience, so read on to find out more.
Let Your Attorney Have All the Information
If you fail to be perfectly honest with your attorney, you have only yourself to blame when things go wrong. Whatever you may have in your background that you assumed would remain hidden, tell your attorney. Accident claims can mean big money and the other driver's insurance carrier has a vested interest in keeping the payout as low as possible. For you, that means a background investigation will be conducted on several areas of your life and issues you thought meant nothing or you thought private can become public knowledge in court. Be sure to tell your attorney about all issues pertaining to the following:
- Previous accidents
- Previous injuries and preexisting conditions
- Previous financial issues like bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions, and court judgments
- Previous criminal charges
- Previous court cases
While being forthcoming about sensitive matters is difficult, your attorney will never reveal what you tell them due to attorney-client privilege. Tell all and allow your attorney an opportunity to be prepared if it comes up in court.
Keep Good Records and Review Them Before the Trial
The civil law process can seem to move at the pace of molasses to those unprepared for it. Trial dates are often set several months ahead of the filing of the suit to allow the parties plenty of time to prepare for the trial. All of that waiting can mean that a major refresher is in order. Re-read your notes, look over your medical records, and review evidence like the accident report and photographs.
Be Careful When Out in Public
With so much money at stake, you should just automatically assume that you could be recorded when out in public. The insurance company might follow you on a family outing to the park, to a doctor's appointment, or as you take out your trash. The medical portion of your claim may be the highest dollar-damage category of all, leading to attempts to discredit your medical needs. If you need to use crutches and walkers to get around, now is not the time to be too embarrassed to use them – you might be under surveillance.
Talk with a lawyer from a law firm like Bradfield Injury Law Firm, PC to learn more tips on how to prepare for your time in court.