UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Med-Legal

Title: Deposition Tips

Keywords: Malpractice, Sued, Deposition (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/19/2008 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 10/14/2019)
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

So you are getting sued.  Here are some tips to handle your Deposition:

 

  • Don’t bring any documents
  • You may charge an expert witness fee if you are not a party and the deposing attorney asks your opinion, rather than just asking you to testify about facts.
  • Say “yes” or “no,” rather than making gestures.
  • Absolute honesty is the best policy.
  • Listen carefully and only answer what is asked.  Don’t try to educate the deposing attorney.
  • Don’t argue or interrupt
  • Nothing is “authoritative.”
  • Pause before answering
  • Avoid saying “always” or “never.”
  • Be brief.  Long-winded answers will get you in trouble.
  • Rather than guessing exactly what you did, its okay to testify what you do “as a matter of habit.”
  • Don’t exaggerate, over-emphasize, or speak in absolute terms.
  • Don’t answer the same question twice.
  • Don’t let the plaintiff attorney refer to you as an employee if you are an independent contractor.
  • Don’t agree with the inane statement “if it wasn’t documented it wasn’t done.”

Courtesy of Larry Weiss, MD, JD

Disclaimer: This information does not constitute legal advice, is general in nature, and because individual circumstances differ it should not be interpreted as legal advice.The speaker provides this information only for Continuing Medical Education purposes.