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DOCTOR ASKS JUDGE “DO I HAVE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION?”

DOCTOR ASKS JUDGE “DO I HAVE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION?”

Have you ever seen this in a courtroom drama on TV, or maybe even in the movies? The doctor's on the witness stand, and the attorney asks him a question on cross examination. The doctor says, "I object." He turns to the judge and says, "Do I really have to answer that question?" You want to know what really happens in New York in a civil lawsuit involving medical malpractice? Come join me for a moment as a share with you what happens if that occurs.

Hi, I'm Gerry Oginski, I'm a New York Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Attorney, practicing law in the state of New York. 

Now to a medical malpractice trial. We are claiming that a doctor violated the basic standards of medical care. We're now at trial. The doctor is on the witness stand, the doctor that you have sued. I have the ability to cross examine as if he is a hostile witness, which in fact he is. He's an adversarial witness. Then I'll be asking him a hypothetical question. "Doctor, I want you to assume that the facts I've just told you are true. Assuming that to be true, would you agree that not doing A, B, and C, would be a violation from the basic standards of medical care?"

The doctor then says, "I object to that question." Not his attorney, but the doctor says it, then turns to the judge for help and says, "Judge, I don't want to answer that question. Do I have to answer that question?" You know what the judge says, "Doctor you have to answer that question. Please answer Mr. Oginski's question." 

The doctor doesn't want to answer that question. Why, because he knows the moment he says yes it would be a violation from good medical care. Now we have that testimony, so that if the jury determines that our set of facts are more likely true than not true, then now they have justification to give us a verdict in our favor using the doctors own testimony. 

Occasionally we'll get a doctor, or a witness, on the stand who refuses to answer a particular question, then turns to the judge for help and says, "Judge, do I really have to answer that question?" The judge, assuming my question is appropriate, and it's properly phrased, he will tell the doctor, "Yes doctor, you must answer that question, or if you can't answer the question tell them you can't answer the question in the way it's phrased." A lot of doctors will follow that approach, and say, "I can't answer it in the way it's phrased." 

Fine, so now I'll ask it a different way. If he says it again, I'll ask it ten different ways until I get an answer from the doctor. Does it happen? Yeah, it happens occasionally where the doctor turns to the judge for help, but the judge is likely going to turn it back to the doctor and say, "Doctor, you've got to answer that question."

To learn more, I invite you to watch the video below...

Why do I share this quick tidbit of information with you? I share it with you just to give you an insight, and an inside look in to what goes on a medical malpractice trial here in New York. I realize you're watching this video because you have questions or concerns about your own particular matter. 

Well, if your matter did happen here in New York, and you're thinking about bringing a lawsuit, but you have questions that you need to get answered. What I invite you to do is pick up the phone and call me. I can answer your legal questions. You know I do this every single day, and I'd love to chat with you. You can reach me at 516-487-8207, or by e-mail at Gerry@Oginski-Law.com. That's it for today's video. I'm Gerry Oginski, have a great day.     


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer