It’s the week before your personal injury court case and you’re freaking out.
What do you call people? Where do you stand? What do you say?
Court is alien territory for most people, that’s for sure.
The first thing to remember is this: even though you have a date to appear in court, only a tiny portion of personal injury cases end up in a full court hearing.
In the days and hours before your court hearing, the barristers will keep trying to settle.
If a court hearing can be avoided at all, it will.
Full court hearings are risky – nobody knows how a judge will view your case. And nobody wants to be on the losing side and risk having to pay everyone’s legal costs. When the stakes are high, minds get focused and serious discussions happen.
So, right up to the minutes before you go into the courtroom, there is always a chance that your case will settle.
If your case is one of the few that doesn’t settle, and it goes in front of a judge to decide, you need to be ready.
You need to be ready for intense negotiations, be ready to tell your story in the witness box, and be ready to play your part in getting the compensation award you deserve.
Here’s how court hearings usually go (remember, you’re the plaintiff):
Personal Injury Claim Court Running Order
• The plaintiff’s barrister introduces the case to the court
• The plaintiff witnesses give evidence in favour of the claim (this includes you)
• The plaintiff witnesses can be cross-examined by the defendant’s barrister
• The defence witnesses give evidence against the claim
• The defence witnesses can be cross-examined by the plaintiff barrister
• The defence barrister gives a summary of the defence case to the judge
• The plaintiff’s barrister gives a summary of the case to the judge
• The judge can either make a decision immediately, or can take some time to think about it and issue their decision at a later point.