For Healthcare Providers Named in a Medical Malpractice or Civil Rights Suit, Preparation for Depositions is Crucial

Depositions are used by both sides in the litigation process to gather information about a pending case. A deposition is part of the formal discovery process by which the opposing side or both sides are given the opportunity to examine and cross-examine witnesses under oath.

A deposition transcript can be used for many purposes including:

    • Cross-examination at trial
    • In lieu of testimony during a trial or other proceeding
    • As an admission of party
    • As support for or against a motion for summary judgment

The witness or deponent generally falls into one of three categories: party, fact witness (lay and professional), and expert witness.

Let’s assume you are a party to the litigation. This means you are either a plaintiff or, in most cases, the defendant. Let’s further assume the case involves some form of medical malpractice or a civil rights claim (42 USC § 1983) involving deliberate indifference.

As a healthcare professional, you will generally either be a party to the litigation or one of the treating professionals. In either case, counsel wants to narrow down your testimony and determine what if any involvement you had with the case.

The big question is: What do I need to do to be prepared for the deposition?

Several Things are Critical to Every Deposition

      1. A deposition is a sworn statement.
      2. Telling the truth is extremely important.
      3. You should never speculate during a deposition.
      4. There are no “do overs.” Once you make the statement on the record, it remains there forever.
      5. Most depositions are very fact intense; therefore, knowing the medical record and your involvement is extremely important.
      6. You must be prepared for your deposition. This means you must know the medical record, your specific involvement, and the implications of your involvement — and you must be ready to answer the anticipated questions.

There is No Substitute for Deposition Preparation

At Chapman Law Group, we generally meet with our healthcare provider clients at least three times prior to the deposition:

      1. The first meeting occurs very early in the process. We will covers your general involvement with the case. We then follow up this meeting with all necessary records to help assist you in becoming intimately familiar with the facts of the case. As discovery progresses, we generally talk several times by phone.
      2. The second meeting happens about 2-3 weeks before your deposition. At this meeting, we go over all of the relevant records and thoroughly discuss your involvement. We also discuss the prior testimony or expected testimony of experts and what the implications may be to your involvement with the case. We also do some role-playing and begin to get you comfortable with the deposition process of being cross-examined under oath. Sometimes we record this interaction via video and use the footage to further assist you in becoming comfortable with the process. The footage is erased immediately following the meeting.
      3. The third meeting generally takes place 1-2 weeks before the deposition. At this meeting, we again go over the record, prior testimony or expected testimony of other treaters or experts, and we continue role-playing. The goal is help you become comfortable with the facts and your involvement, and to ensure you are able to answer difficult questions regarding your involvement. Often parts of the process are recorded on video, reviewed to assist you in the process, then erased following the meeting.

During the deposition, a member of Chapman Law Group will be with you. If the opposing counsel asks inappropriate questions, we will object on your behalf. At times we may instruct you not to answer the question.

It is important to know that Chapman Law Group will be with you at every stage of the process to ensure the questioning is fair, within the boundaries of the law, and that you are given an opportunity to explain your answers.

Trust the National Healthcare-Based Civil Litigation Defense Attorneys at Chapman Law Group

If you are a licensed healthcare professional facing a deposition for any reason and you do not have counsel, we at Chapman Law Group are here to represent you. The deposition is your sworn statement, and being prepared is a joint responsibility between you and your counsel.

At Chapman Law Group, our civil litigation healthcare lawyers specialize in:

We represent licensed healthcare providers all over the U.S., including:

Our primary goal is to protect your interests and limit the time and cost of medical malpractice litigation. Thoroughly understanding all facets of the complaint, including standard of care/practice, alleged breach, proximate cause and damages, gives each Chapman Law Group attorney the ability to take aggressive action and achieve desired results. Our extensive national trial experience, use of technology, and network of experts give us the right advantage.

Types of medical malpractice claims we address include:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Failure to treat
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical negligence
  • Medication error

We serve healthcare professionals across Michigan (including Detroit, Dearborn, Troy, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids), Florida (Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach), and in areas including Chicago, Los Angeles/Southern California, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today and find out how we can put our experience to work for you.

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