Go to navigation Go to content

You Sued Your Doctor for Medical Malpractice. You're Worried that at Your Pretrial Deposition, Your Doctor will be There Staring You Down. Is That Really What Happens?

In New York, 99 times out of 100, the answer is no.
The doctor whom you sued will likely not be in the room when you are questioned during your deposition.

First of all, what's a deposition?

It's pretrial testimony.
It's you giving answers to questions posed by the attorney who represents the doctor  you sued.
This takes place in your lawyers' office.

In his conference room to be exact.
The answers you give are considered sworn testimony.
It carries the same exact weight as if you're testifying at trial.

The only difference is that there's no judge there.
Actually, there's another difference.
There's no jury there either.

It's just you, your lawyer, the defense lawyer and a court stenographer.
The stenographer, also known as a court reporter, is there to record all the questions that are asked and all the answers you give.
Those questions and answers are transcribed and put into a booklet called a transcript.

Your deposition, also known as an examination before trial, takes many hours. 
It often goes all day.
The defense lawyer will ask hundreds if not thousands of questions.

Some of the questions will make sense.
Some will not.
Some questions will be ridiculous.

The ones that are ridiculous will be addressed by your lawyer when he makes an objection.
"Objection. Irrelevant. Ask another question..."
"Objection. That's palpably improper and you know it. Move on counselor..."

Let's get back to the title of this article.
You sued your doctor believing that he was careless.
You sued him because you and your medical expert believed his wrongdoing caused you harm.

Will the doctor whom you sued be in the room with you when his attorney asks you questions?
Highly unlikely.
The doctor most likely will be seeing patients in his office.

The doctor may be performing surgery, if he's a surgeon.
The doctor does not want to take a day out of his schedule to sit in a room and listen to you give answers to mostly mundane questions about what happened. Don't worry, he'll get a full briefing from his attorney at a later time. But you need not worry about him showing up just to stare you down.

Now, don't get me wrong. 
It has happened once in a while.
A doctor, with nothing better to do decides to show up and sit next to his lawyer watching you answer your pretrial questions.

He's only there to try and intimidate you.

If that happens, just do your best to ignore him and focus only on the attorney asking you questions.
You'll soon see that you don't even notice him.
He won't be able to ask you any questions nor is he allowed to comment on any of your answers.

He's just there to sit and observe.

Likewise, a few months later, I will have a chance to question your doctor at his pretrial deposition in his lawyers' office.
When that happens, you, as the person bringing the lawsuit, have the opportunity if you wish, to sit in and listen to the doctor answer my questions. Many injured patients who sue their doctor initially want to be there when I question their careless doctor.

However, I strongly recommend not being there.
Why?
For the simple reason that you'll get upset.

You'll get frustrated.
You'll get angry listening to the answers.
You may want to lash out and start yelling or screaming.

Or worse...

You may want to smack your doctor upside his head!
That will likely land you in jail.
Not good for you or your case.

I tell you that not only will I call you a few days later to let you know what the doctor has said, but I will also send you a copy of the exact questions and answers the doctor gave. I'll send you the transcript for you to read at your convenience.

If you were to show up at the doctors' deposition, you would not be able to comment about any of the answers he gives, nor would you be able to ask him any questions. That's what I do. You're much better off staying home and not getting all aggravated listening to the questions and answers.

To learn about questions you should never ask at a deposition, I invite you to watch the quick video below...

 


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer