Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Your Medical Malpractice Deposition: What To Expect As A Plaintiff

by Becky Freeman

If you have been injured or otherwise harmed by a doctor or other healthcare provider, an important part of your medical malpractice suit will be the deposition. This is when you and your lawyer meet up with the doctor's lawyer (and sometimes the doctor) to give testimony under oath. It will not take place in a courtroom, however, and there will be no judge; it is usually held in a meeting room, either at one of the lawyer's firms, or at a town hall or other location. A court reporter will be there to transcribe the events. It's understandable to feel nervous before your deposition, but knowing what to expect ahead of time can help.

You'll swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Just like you see on television, you will be instructed to take an oath of truthfulness. When answering questions, whether asked by your own attorney or the opposing attorney, it's important to tell the truth as well as you can. You should be very careful not to exaggerate what happened nor to brush off anything. If you don't know an answer, it's okay to say that you don't know or that you don't remember.

When answering questions, think about just the facts of the case. Don't add in your thoughts on the matter or what your opinion is of the doctor or his or her her actions. If you aren't sure that you're remembering correctly or that you don't know all of the details, you can preface your remarks with, "As far as I can remember," or something similar.

You will be examined by both attorneys.

Your own lawyer will have told you what he or she will be asking, and you might even role-play to practice answering. He or she will also tell you what the other attorney might be expected to ask. Sometimes the questions might surprise you, but in general, the opposing attorney will ask you specific questions about what happened during your medical event. It will be helpful to look over your chart notes or invoices so you are clear on dates and which doctors saw you and performed which procedures.

Be aware that sometimes an attorney will ask you questions in what seems to be a misleading way. If you need clarification on what is being asked, don't be afraid to ask him or her to reword the question. Your own attorney will step in if he or she believes that you are being badgered or harassed; in general, you should not worry about this possibility.

You might be offered a lowball settlement right away.

Generally, medical malpractice claims settle out of court. This does not mean that you'll necessarily settle at the deposition or soon after though; many cases are settled right before the scheduled trial. In some cases, however, you might be offered a settlement right away. The offer might be quite low, and your attorney will advise you on whether to accept it or not.

There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind when receiving a settlement offer; even a low offer is better than nothing at all, so your attorney will need to consider whether he or she thinks you'll make a good witness in the courtroom, partially based on how the deposition goes. Many times, a settlement offer will go back and forth several times before a final number is agreed upon.

Always remember that you are under oath during your deposition, and act accordingly. Any lies or even small exaggerations could cause you to be considered a poor witness in your own case; this might raise the chances that you'll be offered a low settlement amount. Also, ask your attorney to practice a question-and-answer session with you in advance of your deposition. If this isn't possible, try to practice with a family member or friend so you will be less nervous when the time comes to answer an opposing attorney's questions. Finally, let your lawyer take the lead and follow his or her advice carefully to boost the odds in your favor. You can click here for info about getting the compensation you deserve from your medical malpractice case.


About Me

Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Hello and welcome, I'm Winfred Paulo. I have a passion for civil court cases of all kinds. Some time back, I ended up in the thick of a civil case after a lengthy dispute with my neighbor. The dispute went on for years and ended badly with an incident that landed us both in court. We had to prove our side of the case in an effort to obtain a positive outcome and recoup our losses. Unfortunately, I lost the case due to a lack of evidence. Since then, I've maintain a strong interest in civil cases and their proceedings. I will share information about civil cases on this site to help others understand these proceedings better. I may talk about legal terms, and expected outcomes for each case type. I hope you visit often to learn more. Thanks for stopping by my website.