For most people, recovering from the shock and depression often associated with being the victim of malpractice is difficult, but if you are planning on filing a malpractice suit, it is important that you be of sound mind before the trial starts. Much like a rape trial, a malpractice trial can be emotionally devastating to the victim, not only because you are forced to come face to face with the incompetent doctors and hospital staffers, but also because you will likely be asked to relive the entire ordeal in front of a court of law. Here are a few tips you and your lawyer will likely go over before your trial starts to make sure you are completely prepared.
It is important to remember that coaching a witness is illegal and can result in serious legal repercussions if it is discovered. However, you and your lawyer will likely go over your testimony to make sure that you communicate clearly to the court about what happened. The first thing you need to remember is to always be honest about what happened, what you were told and what happened after you found out about the malpractice. Often times, malpractice suits are directly linked to a lack of clear, concise communication between patient and doctor that not only results in the actual malpractice but also extends to the time after the incident occurred. If you can show a legitimate pattern of poor care from the first moment you spoke to your doctor until the present time, you will have a much stronger case than you would otherwise.
One of the jobs that your lawyer will take on himself will be to discover if your doctor has had any problems with any other patients in the past. While court testimony from any other trials will likely be sealed, most judges will allow the mention that other trials happened and that there might be a pattern of incompetent care that has lead to the current situation. There isn’t much you can do in the way of helping here with the possible exception of asking people in the hospital about that particular doctor. If you speak to a nurse who has seen this sort of thing before, you should probably tell your lawyer and she can be summons to testify on your behalf.
Just like any court case, the more witnesses you have to corroborate your testimony, the better off you’ll be. In the lead up to your malpractice incident, you likely attended check ups or briefings with a family member or friend. If you plan on demonstrating a lack of communication, care or understanding that dates back to these initial check ups, it is a good idea to ask your witness to testify as well.
A malpractice case can be a bit tricky since all you have to present to a jury or judge is what happened to you. There are usually few witnesses and if your doctor doesn’t have a history of malpractice, it can seem like your words against theirs. However, honesty is your best ally and with the right preparation and a good lawyer, you can often come out on top.