Guide to Medical Malpractice Depositions

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When there is a medical malpractice claim, both parties can conduct discovery. Discovery is the process of gathering information and evidence. There are multiple purposes for discovery. It allows each party to understand the evidence. It narrows the issues in dispute and helps the parties work towards a non-trial resolution.

Depositions in Medical Malpractice Cases

Multiple people may be deposed in a medical malpractice case. The treating healthcare professionals, an expert witness that will be used in the case, and the victim are all parties that may be deposed.

If you’re the victim, it’s possible that you will be deposed. Many cases settle before a deposition can occur. However, there is a possibility that it will take place in your case. But you don’t need to worry. When you understand what a deposition is and what to expect, you can arrive at your deposition feeling confident and prepared.

What is the purpose of a deposition in a medical malpractice case?

A deposition in a medical malpractice case is when a party answers questions under oath about things that are relevant to the case. It’s like testifying on the witness stand in that you are sworn to tell the truth. It’s different than testifying during a trial because you’re not in a courtroom, in front of a judge with a jury evaluating what you say. It is a formal proceeding, and the things you say may be used as evidence and presented if your statements conflict at trial.

How to Prepare for Medical Malpractice Depositions

For a victim-plaintiff, there are several ways to prepare for a medical malpractice deposition.

Understand what questions to expect

Start by considering the questions that you’re likely to be asked at your deposition. This includes questions about what happened and the events surrounding the medical malpractice. Talk to your attorney about what to expect so you’re unlikely to be surprised by any questions.

Have a practice deposition

The best way to learn how to do something is to practice. Your attorney can conduct a mock deposition. It should involve all the formalities – walking into an office, sitting down at a table with others present, taking an oath, and answering questions. Going through the motions can ease your anxiety as your deposition date approaches.

Anticipate negative points and critical questions

Make no mistake – the defense is there to fight the case. Anticipate negative questions and ways the other side may be critical of your claim. Prepare for how to respond to these questions. Remember to keep your testimony factual. Don’t argue with the other side. However, when you know what negative topics to expect, you can prepare to address them confidently.

Answer only the question asked

Remember that you’re not being assessed by a jury at your deposition. The defense may try to get you comfortable and chatty. They’re hoping you’ll divulge information that is helpful to their side of the case. However, it’s best to keep it brief. Try to answer only the question asked. Avoid long explanations and off-topic stories.

Pause before answering

Take a second to pause before answering each question. That makes sure you think through the question before you answer. It also gives your attorney a chance to interject if necessary.

Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand something

One mistake that can happen in a deposition is answering a question you don’t fully understand. That can lead to the answer being taken out of context. A medical malpractice deposition may involve medical terms. Sometimes, an attorney’s question can be confusing or worded poorly, even without medical terms. If you don’t understand a question, don’t answer it. Ask the person asking the question to explain or reword it.

Be polite and professional

A deposition is a formal proceeding. Don’t make jokes. Be extremely polite. It can be hard to be aware of nervous behavior when you’re in a tense setting. But do your best to keep calm and professional throughout the proceeding.

Preparing for Your Medical Malpractice Deposition

Preparing for a medical malpractice deposition is an important part of any case. When you work with Bobby Jones Law, we prepare with you. Knowing what to expect and answering your questions can give you confidence in the legal process. Contact us today to talk about your case.

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