Workers’ compensation refers to an insurance program where, as an employee, you get compensation when you sustain job-related illnesses or injuries. If you are preparing to attend a trial related to employee compensation, you have to be prepared for a trying endeavor that will either make or break your case. The following article provides you with helpful pointers on participating in a court trial.
What to Do Before Trial
You have to measure the risk of failing to win against the benefits you stand to get when you attend trial. Are you better off settling or do you think you will get a better deal in court? For instance, if your employer agrees to compensate you at a fair price that covers the medical costs and benefits you have lost owing to your injury, then you are better off not going ahead to trial. However, if you are dealing with an unreasonable employer, it is better to face them off in a court trial.
What Happens During a Trial?
A judge hears the evidence from both parties—the injured party and the employer. Witnesses will be called to strengthen the position of both parties and all their testimony will be under oath and on record. Some of the evidence presented during a court trial includes deposition testimony- these are under oath statements recorded by attorneys when questioning witnesses or any other parties of interest in the case. Trials may last from a couple of hours to several days.
How to Conduct Yourself during a Trial
When you are put on the stand, remember you are under oath and if you lie to the court, you face being charged with perjury — this refers to knowingly giving false statements while under oath.
Your first impression is important. Appear neat and sharp. A trial consultant from NAEGELI Deposition and Trial recommends being mindful of your body language and facial expressions when answering questions. For instance, wandering eyes may be interpreted as a sign that you are not being truthful. Your attorney should prep you on how to respond to questions by predicting what the opposing counsel is likely to ask.
Keep your emotions in check. Do not act in anger or fear, keep your cool and answer questions after listening carefully and meditating on the appropriate response.
The Judge Hearing Your Case
You should research the background of the judge hearing your case to determine what behaviors or attitudes they tolerate and their opinions regarding certain issues. For instance, a judge whose record shows concern with racism will likely rule in your favor if you present evidence of racial bias.
After the closing statements are made, the judge will rule either immediately or take some time to decide (this can range from a couple of weeks to months).
The judge only awards benefits for workers compensation, therefore, do not expect to be compensated for pain or suffering. If you are unsatisfied, you can appeal but this could take years during which time you are only entitled to a fraction of weekly benefits- in most cases you receive 70% of your total weekly benefits.
Attending trial is a trying moment and you need to muster patience and discipline throughout the period. Your attorney has to gather and prepare their evidence accordingly and prepare you for questioning. In conclusion, how well you are prepared for a trial has a great impact on your chances of winning the case.
This article is from Emma Sturgis, a freelance writer living in Boston. She writes on a variety of topics, including politics and law. When not at her computer, she enjoys film noir and rock climbing.