Generally, it is advised that you should almost always have legal representation when you have a court case. This allows for no errors on your part when it comes to preparing and presenting your case in court. That being said, the preceding article and this one will provide helpful tips to ensure success in small claims court during self-representation.
There are several aspects that any party involved in a court case needs to adhere to to ensure success in the courtroom. Some of these include the following:
- Admissibility of evidence – Once you have determined the elements of your case, you have to prove your case to win it. As a result, you will need to figure out what types of evidence are likely to help you prove each element. However, it is essential to note that not every sort of evidence can be presented in court. Some forms of evidence are not admissible in court. Rules of evidence are provided to determine whether a specific document, statement or item is acceptable or not. Such rules are complicated and hard to master; however, you must do enough research to ensure that you can present the evidence necessary to win your case.
- A trial notebook – During your trial, it is likely that you will testify, question and cross-examines witnesses as well as present arguments about why you should win the case. To keep track of the questions you want to ask, points you want to make and facts you have to prove to win, it is advisable to put together a trial notebook. Even experienced professional attorneys have trial notebooks that they constantly refer to and are seen scribbling in.
- Learn the basics – Lawyersspend years learning how to question and cross-examine witnesses, present evidence and make arguments in court; therefore, before your day in court arrives, take the time to learn the basic procedures and rules of court and how to prove your case. Some information may be found in the court’s local rules; therefore, you will need to look elsewhere for help on presenting your case. Some have turned to self-help books on representing yourself in court to explain handling each step in a trial.
- Trial watching – Before your case commences, take the time to go to the courthouse and sit in on a few trials that involve issues similar to your case. This will help you see how to present your story and evidence to the judge. Further, it will help you learn what to expect in a small claims trial. Due to how the process goes, you will likely get to watch several trials within an hour. However, some trials can take days or weeks before completion; thus, you may need to sit in on portions of several trials during the day.
- Another key element is being respectful; address the judge as ‘your honor’ and try to be polite to your opponent. Show respect for people and the procedures of the court room.
For legal advice on handling your personal injury lawsuit contact bodily injury lawyers today.