Getting Ready For Trial The Day You Walk Into The Office

Tips to prepare for a deposition in your medical malpractice case

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | medical malpractice

Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be stressful. One of the more overwhelming aspects that victims experience is the deposition. This is the process of being put under oath and answering questions posed by the defense’s attorney prior to trial.

Depositions are considered part of the discovery process, and follow somewhat different rules from questioning during a trial. In a deposition, the defense’s attorney has wide latitude as to what they can ask you, and your attorney has very little room to object to questions to prevent you from answering.

As a result, you might feel like you’re stranded while you’re being deposed. But you can reduce or outright eliminate the risk of feeling that way by adequately preparing for your deposition. But how do you do that? Let’s take a closer look.

How to prepare for the deposition in your medical malpractice case

It’s normal to feel nervous going into a deposition. But you don’t want to improvise your testimony, and you don’t want to go in unprepared. Therefore, if you’ve been subpoenaed for a deposition, you should be sure to do the following:

  • Review all documentation relevant to your case: You need to know the facts of your case. If you don’t, then the defense might catch you in inconsistencies that’ll make you look bad at trial. Take the time you need to review hospital reports, witness accounts, medical records, employment records, and any statements that you’ve given. This will help you anticipate what the defense is going to ask you and give you a better idea of how you can answer their questions in a way that protects the viability of your claim.
  • Listen to the questions: Attorneys are good at posing questions in a way that leave you unable to provide an answer that’s beneficial to your position. By listening closely to the question, you can understand what they’re really asking and can answer it appropriately without setting yourself up.
  • Be honest: Your deposition is taken under oath. If you lie, then you could be accused of perjury. You certainly don’t want that, and you don’t want any mischaracterization of the facts to come back and haunt you at trial. So, be as honest as you can and don’t guess at answers. If you don’t know something, just say so.
  • Don’t volunteer information: Individuals who are deposed often get themselves into trouble when they provide too much information in response to a question. You don’t need to volunteer information. Just answer the defense attorney’s questions as directly and succinctly as possible. You don’t want to inadvertently give them ammunition to use against you at trial.
  • Ask for breaks: If you need a break during your deposition, just say so. It’s fine if you need to collect your thoughts and center yourself. You just won’t be able to take a break to confer with your attorney before asking a question.

Don’t let a bad deposition derail your medical malpractice case

Although a deposition can feel somewhat informal, its ramifications can be significant given that your deposition can be used at trial. That’s why it’s imperative that you’re adequately prepared for your medical malpractice deposition.

If you have questions about what else you can do to prepare, then be sure to discuss them with your attorney. Additionally, don’t overlook the value of deposing the defendant and other key witnesses in your case. They might give you the evidence you need to win on your claim and secure the financial support that you need.

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