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Which Witnesses Will Go First at Trial?

Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer

Which witness goes first is a challenging question. Here's why. Identifying which witnesses need to testify first, second, or third is often a strategic decision.

In medical malpractice cases in New York, we typically put the defendant doctor on the witness stand first. What that means is that the doctor you have brought a lawsuit against is usually the one who will go on the witness stand first.

Some might question why we do that. There's a key strategic reason why we do that.

I need to establish a baseline standard of care for treating a patient with this type of condition. The best person to provide that information is the doctor you have sued. In New York, I am permitted to ask the doctor expert questions and he is required to give answers about what is the standard of care when treating a patient with this particular condition.

Once I've established a baseline of what is good and acceptable medical care, I can then go directly to my client's care and treatment by this doctor.

Then we can compare the treatment my client received compared to what is good medical practice, according to Doctor's own testimony.

Who goes next?

I may put on my client next or a family member who observed my client, or even a witness who saw or overheard something important.

I may decide to put on various doctors who treated my client after the wrongdoing as well as rehabilitation experts and economic experts to explain to the jury different elements of damages.

To learn more about these cases, I encourage you to explore my educational website.