A hearing is often the culmination of your preparations when you are pursuing a personal injury claim. This will be your chance to share with the court how the injury has affected you personally, financially, and professionally. It's important that you are prepared for the hearing since this is also when decisions will be made about whether your case will continue to trial or not. Knowing what mistakes to avoid can help.
#1: Not treating the hearing in a professional manner
Although this isn't the trial, this still isn't a casual affair. Make sure you are dressed in business casual attire at the very least. You may not need a full suit, but dressier clothing is called for. You will be sitting for some time, though, so make sure the clothing is comfortable. Your behavior should also be formal, as befits a court setting. Avoid cursing, use of slang, or any type of argumentative language. Your lawyer can help you understand what formalities you will be expected to follow.
#2: Not preparing your deposition ahead of time
Chances are you will need to deliver a deposition. This is the question and answer part of the hearing when the attorney for the person or entity you are suing will have a chance to ask you questions. Your attorney will help you prepare for the deposition. Preparation typically entails coming up with a list of questions you are likely to be asked and then practicing your answers. You practice not because the answers aren't true, but so that your wording is precise and accurate, thus cutting down on the chances of the other side twisting your words to make you sound at fault. Keep in mind, the deposition is often videotaped so that attorneys on both sides can later view your answers as they craft a case.
#3: Rushing through the hearing
If you try to rush through the hearing and deposition, you are likely going to hurt your case. Listen to each question carefully and pause to think through your answer before you say it out loud. Often, deposition questions are worded in convoluted ways that are designed to confuse or sometimes to even lead you to give a specific answer. Your attorney cannot give you advice on what to answer, but they can object to questions that could hurt your case because they do not follow the rules. Pausing before rushing to answer gives your attorney a chance to intervene when this is the case. Also, don't be afraid to ask for the question to be asked again or re-worded if you didn't quite understand the first time.
For more information, contact a personal injury attorney, such as those found at Cohen & Siegel LLP.