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10 Tips for Testifying at Trial
If your workers’ compensation case is going to trial, it’s normal to be anxious. Like most people in your position, it’s likely your first experience appearing in court. Here are a few tips on how to keep calm, do what you can to make a good impression and ultimately, help your case.
- Be honest. This is our first tip because it’s the most important one. If you are dishonest, you risk losing your entire case. Even a small lie can be disastrous, destroying your credibility and giving the other side a big advantage. If you don’t understand a question, say so. If you don’t know the answer, say so.
- Don’t embellish. Embellishing your injuries or your story in any way is the same as lying and can have the same negative effect. The truth will come out, as they say. And the judge might not believe what you say after that.
- Dress appropriately. An obvious tip, but an important one. First impressions matter, and everyone will see you before they get to hear you. If you are well dressed, it’s a good start. You’re more likely to be respected and trusted if it appears that you are taking your trial seriously.
- Speak up. Be confident in your answers. If you sound doubtful, it will show. Speak up so that you can be heard.
- Give short answers. If it’s a yes or no question, answering yes or no is sufficient. You should be honest, but there is no need to offer extra information. You never know what will inadvertently hurt your case.
- Don’t anticipate questions. Pause after a question is asked. You aren’t required to answer more than the question you are asked, and it can be a detriment to do so. Don’t ramble on.
- Be patient. Your attorney may ask to speak with the judge, or someone might file a motion. These can cause delays in your testimony. You probably want it to be over as quickly as possible, but it’s important that things are done right. Try your best to be patient.
- Practice. It’s ok – in fact it’s a good idea – to rehearse your testimony. It can help you be better prepared, and more comfortable, when it’s time to testify.
- Relax. Let your attorney worry about the trial, as much as you can. Tell the truth, listen to your attorney, and know that you’ve done what you can.
- Bring support. If it would make you less nervous, ask if you can bring a friend, spouse or other family member with you that day. A familiar face can make a big difference.
Talk with your attorney about your concerns. They should have the experience to tell you what to expect and help you understand what it’s like to testify. If you would like a referral to a great trial lawyer for work injuries, please give us a call at 1 (800) 807-9530 for a confidential consultation or fill out our contact form and we will call you.