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Ever Been Called To Provide A Deposition

Nurses   (9,996 Views 12 Comments)
by kTIE kTIE (New Member) New Member

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I was just notified by my last employer that a patient and her husband are filing a lawsuit against the hospital. I have never been to one of these. Should I provide my own counsel or let the hospital represent me during the deposition? Any experiences in this?

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6,487 Posts; 21,436 Profile Views

The attorney doesn't have much to do with the actual deposition except to make sure you're treated fairly during it. I'd say contact your malpractice carrier to let them know, but let the hospital provide counsel for the depo. If it goes beyond that, get your own attorney. And do NOT let anyone know you have your own coverage unless and until you do get your own attorney.

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tnbutterfly - Mary is a BSN, RN and specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

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kTIE.....Hello and welcome to the site.

The members at allnurses cannot provided legal advice. Do you have Liability Insurance? If you have individual liability insurance (malpractice), you should contact your liability carrier to assist you in this matter.

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6,372 Posts; 34,635 Profile Views

I had to give testimony in a deposition once, though thankfully not a malpractice case. I was rammed by an allegedly drunk driver who ran a red light, totalling my car and injuring me. By the end of the deposition, this clown's attorney had me convinced I was guilty. Word to the wise: be certain you have your own legal representation. Best of luck!

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Dalzac is a LPN, LVN, RN and specializes in CCU,ICU,ER retired.

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I have been to 2. The first one I was an ekg tech that ran an ekg on a guy that died after he was sent home from ER. It was 4 yrs after the fact and I had run close to 30 ekgs that night. All I could say was I don't know who he was and I had run so many that night. The families attorney ask me 6 times why I couldn't remember and mad a fool of himself. They let me go.

The second time a family was sueing for a bad bedsore. I was the admitting nurse to ICU when the pt first came in and I had done a very through admitting note and that was the end of the pending suit. So remember to chart on every single sytem on the body. It could save you a lifetime of misery.

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ZASHAGALKA has 15 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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I've been to one.

Plaintiff's lawyer asked me exactly 5 questions, the answer to each was:

"If you look at my charting, the answer to your question is right here." (As I pointed to where I had charted the answer.)

Next day, hospital was dropped from the suit. Of course, the primary suit was always against the doc and it wouldn't have gone anywhere, anyway. The doc did the right thing. And it was so clear cut, any jury would have known it.

I think, ultimately, the lawyer lost interest in the case (so it fizzled) as he began to see that a contingency fee of nothing is well, nothing.

~faith,

Timothy.

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purple1953reading specializes in ER OB NICU.

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Was notified once, but never actually called. I always chart as clearly and explicitly as possible. We can't remember every exact detail years later when cases end up in the court system. So know that you charted everything you will need to be able to point out the answers in the charting. My charting was always more lengthy but my thought was that anybody who had never seen this patient, could read my admitting note, and get enough history, current and pertinent info to treat the patient.

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The following is not legal advice, but I've been conducting and defending depositions for a couple of decades, and you should bear the following in mind.

One, if you're not being personally sued, then you're a "non-party," and the hospital's lawyer represents the hospital, not you. You have the absolute right to bring your own lawyer, so consider doing so.

Two, keep your answers as short and sweet as possible: "yes," "no," "no," "yes." Don't speculate, and, unless you're being called as an expert witness, don't give opinions. If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification.

Three, there will be no judge. If your lawyer tells you not to answer or objects to a question, stop talking. If you feel genuinely uncomfortable about answering a question, don't answer. The worst thing that can happen is that the lawyer will make a motion to the court, and the judge will write a decision telling you what to do.

Good luck.

MG

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dnnc52 has 35 years experience and specializes in ICU,ER,med-Surg,Geri,Correctional.

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yes and it was a real high profile law suit, be honest, short and complete. only answer what they question you about. do not get intimidated. they may make you feel like they are questioning your validity and in doing so you can get caught up in elaborating your answers, in a way to support or win over the lawyers. remember they are just as good in their profession as you are in yours. and they intend to make you feel tunable, i was nervous, and worried before the deposition. went out got fancy haircut and new suit the whole works. made me feel better but must lawyers on your side will encourage feeling comfortable but looking professional. the lawyers who were representing the client were the jet flying limo riding type. but the truth prevailed in spite of all the hype . so the truth nothing but the truth short and sweet. don't lose sleep over it!

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1,343 Posts; 5,674 Profile Views

If you are the defendant, you should have your own attorney.

If you are not the defendant, I'm really not sure.

All the advice above is right on.

Answer only the question that is asked, nothing more. You are not there to help the plaintiff's lawyer and that lawyer is there only to benefit his client and himself. You are enemies, adversaries. Do not help your enemy.

Don't make things harder than they need to be, either. But just remember that you are not being invited to a party. It's a deadly serious gathering and there is no reason you should help your enemy.

You should be entitled to payment for your time, I think. Ask about it.

I hesitate to tell you to notify your insurer if you are not the defendant, as I wonder if the insurer will look upon you negartively for being called to be deposed. This is your call, though.

Remember that "deposed" means something like "to move you from your position".

De position. Adversarial proceeding.

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23 Posts; 1,207 Profile Views

You should be entitled to payment for your time, I think. Ask about it.

This depends on what state you are in. In New York, for example, the fee is regulated by statute, and is "fifteen dollars for attendance fees and twenty-three cents as travel expenses for each mile to the place of attendance from the place where he or she was served, and return." For a deposition you get "an additional three dollars for each day's attendance." You don't get paid for your time.

For your own state's rules, you should consult an attorney.

MG

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