What are Depositions in a Medical Malpractice Case and Why are they Important

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

After the formalities of commencing a law suit are completed, and after the defendant has responded to the accusations in the complaint, the process of “discovery” begins.  The process of discovery is used to unveil all the evidence and possible testimony of parties before the case goes to trial.  Imagine the medical malpractice case as being a box.  Within that box is the evidence and potential witness testimony.  The discovery process empties that box out in front of the attorneys.

Depositions are part of the discovery process.  It is considered as testimony and is taken under oath.  What happens is that the person being subjected to discovery questioning is given notice that they are to be deposed.  The paperwork will note the time and place at which the deposition will be held.  Typically, the deposition is held at an attorney’s office.  But they can be held in other locations, such as in offices at a courthouse. 

The medical malpractice plaintiff will most certainly be asked to submit to a deposition.  The defendant’s attorney will ask the questions.  Think of it as an interview.  The defense attorney will ask the plaintiff questions and the plaintiff will answer.  The plaintiff will not be alone; his or her attorney will be there too.

Experienced Hudson medical malpractice attorneys have assisted plaintiffs through the deposition process countless times.  These attorneys know what to expect and for the most part they know what questions will be asked.  

Prior to deposition questioning, the defendant’s attorney will already have reviewed other evidence and facts of the case.  He or she may have interviewed witnesses as well.  But that will not stop defense counsel from asking questions about things he or she already knows. 

The questioning is meant to elicit answers directly from the plaintiff’s mouth.  The goal will be to see if the plaintiff changes his or her story, or answers in a way that seems untrustworthy.  And of course, the defense attorney may look for new information that will fill in gaps from other evidence. 

If the plaintiff does not do well during the deposition, the defendant will have a stronger hand at the settlement table and during trial if the case goes to trial.  Poor deposition performance could therefore have a negative impact on how much money the plaintiff is awarded.

With that said, do not be frightened.  The experienced medical malpractice attorney will prepare you in advance.  Your attorney will review the case with you so that you accurately remember the facts.  That way during the deposition there will be no need to worry.  All you have to do is listen to the question and answer honestly. 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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