Videotape Depositions of Doctors: Pros and Cons

How do you share the doctor’s testimony with the jury if the doctors are unwilling or unable to come to court for your injury trial ?

Herndon trial lawyer Doug Landau with an example of a medical illustration used to demonstrate a client's injury during a treating doctor's videotape deposition
Herndon trial lawyer Doug Landau with an example of a medical illustration used to demonstrate a client's ankle injury and surgery during a treating doctor's pre-trial videotape deposition

One method to overcome this problem is to have the deposition of the doctor at a time and place when the doctor CAN attend and participate.  Often this is before or after busy office hours and surgical schedules.  A deposition is simply questioning a witness under oath.  If notice is given to the other side that you intend to use the deposition at trial, then they are prepared to cross examine the doctor so that the proceedings are fair to all parties.  Some doctors, HMOs such as Kaiser Permanente in Virginia and medical providers refuse to cooperate with their own patients and will not participate in testifying as to their own treatment, findings, surgery and billing !  This leaves their injured patients in quite a predicament; if they do not present competent medical evidence, they cannot submit their losses to the jury.  If they do try to present the full extent of their harms, then they must pay thousands of dollars and sometimes get a doctor who did not actually treat them to evaluate their records, examine their bodies and review the medical bills.

At the Herndon Reston area law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we usually invest in the extra expense of having the deposition videotaped so that we can present it to the jury at trial.  In addition to having to pay many hundreds, and even thousands of dollars for the doctor’s time, in advance, trial lawyer Doug Landau must also compensate the court reporter and videographer for their time and efforts.  So, while a pre-trial videotape deposition may be easier for the doctor and save some money for the plaintiff and counsel, at the end of the day the savings are not that much, as doctors’ “video depos” can easily run several thousands of dollars.  Furthermore, as has been pointed out by ABRAMS LANDAU trial team members, video depositions of more than a half an hour are often boring.  Having medical illustrations, exhibits or other demonstrative aids for the jury to look at during the playing of a videotaped deposition at trial can help their understanding and keep their interest while important testimony is presented.

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