Everyone wants to know how to WIN in Court, but unfortunately you’re going to lose your court case. Nobody WANTS to go to Court and lose, but that’s what happens to 50% of the parties in cases. (that was easy math) Every case has a winner and every case has a loser.
We’ve put together a list of the 5 Reasons You’ll Lose Your Court Case. If you want to win your case, then you definitely don’t want to do what’s on this list of don’ts.
1. You don’t get evidence to your attorney
Most cases involve a significant amount of evidence. Whether it’s emails, text messages, videos, contracts, or pictures, you will likely need this evidence to win your case.
In most cases, you’re required to exchange all documents that you will use to support or defend your case within the first 30 days after the Answer is filed.
Also, as your case progresses, you’ll have to turn over additional evidence that you discover, or that is created throughout the case.
All of the evidence in the world is useless though if you don’t get it into the hands of your attorney. With technology these days, there are countless ways you can send documents and files. We’ve created a great video on how to use Dropbox to organize and send your evidence to your attorney.
If you don’t want to lose your court case, then make sure that you get all of your evidence to your attorney.
2. You don’t tell your attorney the whole story
At the beginning of your court case, your attorney will give an opening statement and tell the Judge or Jury what the evidence is going to show. It’s kind of like a preview. Since the attorney knows the case evidence really well, then they should be in the best position to give a preview.
Now, imagine the attorney telling the Judge or Jury that the evidence will prove one thing, but in the back of your mind you know something they don’t know. You see, you have a secret that directly affects your case. You didn’t tell your attorney because you were afraid of what they might say or were afraid of them not taking your case if they knew this secret.
Before you know it, you’re under oath and being forced to admit to this secret in front of the entire courtroom. Your attorney sits there with their mouth wide open because you would have been advised NOT to take this case to trial if that tidbit of information had been known.
Why would someone hide information from their attorney? Because they chose the wrong attorney in the first place. We’ve created a great video on how to choose the best attorney for you and any court case you have.
If you don’t want to lose your court case, then make sure that you tell your attorney the “whole” story.
3. You don’t testify very well
Trial testimony is one-part evidence, one-part procedure, and one-part theater.
A lot of witnesses want to simply “tell their story” when they testify. If it was as simple as just getting your story told, then that could be accomplished solely on written pleadings. However, we all know that trials don’t work like that.
Trials involve live testimony. There’s a human element to courtroom testimony that simply can’t be matched with written pleadings.
However, if you don’t testify very well, a winnable case can be lost in an instant. I’ve seen witnesses get into arguments with the Judge, get into arguments with opposing counsel, and even get into arguments with their own attorney.
There are 3 steps to providing great trial testimony.
- Listen to the Question
- Understand the Question
- Answer the Question
Your attorney will ask the questions that are intended to prove the essential elements of your case. Notice how “telling your story” isn’t one of the steps for great trial testimony?
We’ve put together some tips on giving the type of testimony that wins trials, and how to answer the 7-deadly questions.
If you don’t want to lose your court case, then you need to learn how to testify well.
4. You don’t pay your attorney
If you have a Court-Appointed Attorney, or have hired your attorney on a contingency-fee basis, then this doesn’t necessarily apply to you. If you’ve hired your attorney, then failure to pay in accordance with your attorney’s fee agreement will cause your attorney to withdraw from your case.
An attorney may withdraw if the client fails substantially to fulfill an obligation to the attorney regarding the attorney’s services, including an obligation to pay the attorney’s fee as agreed, and has been given reasonable warning that the attorney will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled.
When the Court sets your case for a final hearing, you’ll normally be provided at least 45-days’ notice. When you get that notice, your attorney may ask you to provide a deposit for the anticipated cost to prepare for, and attend, the final hearing.
If you haven’t stayed up to date on your bill, then this is your last chance to get caught up. Also, on your monthly invoices, your attorney most likely provided a notice that failure to pay your invoice will result in your attorney withdrawing from representation.
If your attorney provided you with notice that failure to pay your invoice will lead to withdrawal, then that is enough “reasonable warning” to permit their withdrawal. Obviously, you don’t expect your attorney to work for free, so they’ll have to ensure payment up front.
If you don’t pay your attorney, and your attorney withdraws, then you’ll be going to Court all alone. If you represent yourself in Court, you’ll be expected to know the Rules of Evidence, Rules of Civil Procedure, as well as the applicable law to your case.
If you don’t want to lose your court case, then you need to pay your attorney.
5. You don’t get your evidence admitted at trial
Your case has lots of evidence. You have text messages, emails, social media posts, documents, and videos that can prove your side of the story and win the day.
Unfortunately, you could fill warehouses with winning evidence that the Court did not allow to be admitted.
You don’t want your evidence to end up in those warehouses, so you need to do everything in your power to make sure that your evidence gets admitted. This means that you must preserve your evidence correctly. Let’s use a social media post as an example, but the same goes for emails and text messages.
To use social media posts in court, you must prove that they are authentic and accurate copies of the originals.
Evidence that you use at trial must be authentic. That means that you need to be able to show that the evidence is what you say it is. One of the obvious difficulties in authenticating social media posts is because you don’t want to hand over your entire social media account into evidence, so you need a reliable way to preserve those posts.
The most common way of authenticating social media posts is to create screenshots of the posts, and then provide testimony to show that the screenshots are true and accurate copies of the originals.
Where people usually fail in Court is when they only take screenshots of limited portions of the posts, or they aren’t able to show that there have been no edits, deletions, or alterations to the posts.
We’ve put together some tips on preserving digital evidence for use in Court.
So, if you don’t want to lose your court case, then you must ensure that you preserve your evidence so it can get admitted at trial.
There you have it. 5 Reasons You’ll Lose Your Court Case. Obviously, there’s no guarantee that avoiding these mistake will get you the win in Court, but doing these list of don’ts will definitely cause you to lose.
–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Civil Litigation Division
1101 Broadway, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3303
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479