Eight Considerations to Make before Going to Court - dummies

Eight Considerations to Make before Going to Court

By Judge Philip Straniere

Part of Filing & Winning Small Claims For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Before your big court date, it is especially important that you be prepared and come across as polite, respectful, organized, and armed with the documents you need.

  1. Have a solid idea of what category of case you have.

    Proving a breach of contract case is a lot different than proving a property damage case.

  2. Visit the court a few times before the day of your trial.

    Check out how the cases are called and how the judge handles the trials.

  3. Dress like this is an important event in your life.

    Look respectable, be polite, and treat your opponent and the court staff respectfully.

  4. Make a checklist of what you want to prove.

    Then make sure you have some way to prove the point you want to make whether it is by a live witness or by some documents.

  5. Be prepared with your documentation.

    Make sure you don’t need records or documents that some third person has; if you have to get them, you may need a subpoena.

  6. Have your facts straight.

    If the defendant filed a counterclaim, be prepared to respond to that with facts.

  7. Don’t get angry with your opponent and especially not with the judge.

    Listen to what is going on and don’t talk for the sake of talking. If the other side has a lawyer, try not to let her throw you off from your prepared game plan.

  8. Don’t ask a witness a question unless you’re pretty sure what the answer will be.

    Getting an unexpected answer can doom your case.