When your accident case or your medical malpractice case or wrongful death case come up for trial, some injured victims think it's ok to wear whatever they want to court. Some litigants think they don't care what other people think of them and what they wear to their trial.

That type of thinking is bad. Really bad and here's why...

When you are at trial and a jury from the community is called upon to decide whether you are more likely right than wrong that what you are claiming is true, the jury's perceptions of you are crucial.

The jury will be evaluating you every day. They notice EVERYTHING.

The jury notices what people are wearing. They notice what briefcases the attorneys bring in. They notice what the attorneys do and don't do. 

Think about it...

The jury is there to decide who is more likely right than wrong. They will be required to sit in the jury box for the duration of your entire trial. That could be days, weeks or sometimes, months.

The jury's perception of you as a person is very important. Your credibility is vital. If there is anything you do to convince a jury that you are not believable or not credible, the chances of you winning your lawsuit will drop dramatically.

You might argue that if you wear dirty jeans and a ripped t-shirt have nothing to do with the facts of your case. That's entirely true.

However, how you present yourself has a signficant impression on the jury.

When you appear in court, you should be dressed neatly and cleanly. Dress as if you are going to church or synagogue. Do NOT dress as if you are going to a nightclub by wearing a tight fitting dress with five inch heels.

Although it is never fair for someone to judge a book by its' cover, or by a jury to judge you by your appearance, if you give them a reason to disbelieve you, they will.

Let's get back to the question I asked at the beginning of this article...

Will the type of clothes you wear affect the outcome of your trial?

There's no question that dressing neatly and properly won't hurt your case. However, dressing like a vagrant or without regard to your hygiene is certain to cause jurors to be more skeptical than they would otherwise be.

Believe it or not, the clothes we wear say a lot about who we are.

Another point worth making...

If you have nice jewelry and watches, leave them at home. The court house is NOT the place to show the jury what beautiful trinkets you own. If you do that, some jurors may become jealous. Some jurors may feel that you already have enough money and don't need any additional compensation even though you did suffer significant injury.

To learn about trial strategy and expert witnesses, I invite you to watch the video below...

Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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