Giving Depositions As a Defendant Or an Expert (Medicolegal Issues)

Giving Depositions As a Defendant Or an Expert (Medicolegal Issues)

Depositions of defendant health care providers and retained experts are extremely important in health care liability claims. Whereas in other types of claims, depositions are used primarily as a tool to discover and clarify the facts, in health care liability claims depositions also serve to discover and evaluate the thought process and rationale behind the evaluation and treatment of the patient’s condition, the underlying basis of opinions about the propriety of the care rendered, and the causes of the patient’s subsequent complications, problems, impairment, or death. The underlying facts in these cases are critical, but they are often documented long before litigation. Counsel for both the plaintiffs and the defendants also use these depositions to evaluate how a witness will present at trial and how a jury will respond to the witness and his or her testimony. While recollections of facts and expert opinions are an important part of health care liability claims, the real key is whether or not beneficial or supportive recollections and opinions can be presented to the jury in a reasonable, understandable, and credible way. Depositions of the defendant physician(s) and expert witnesses provide counsel with some of the best information on which to evaluate these factors and the case itself. For this reason, depositions need to be taken seriously by physicians, whether they are testifying on their own behalf or as an expert for one of the parties.

Giving Depositions As a Defendant Or an Expert (Medicolegal Issues)



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