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What happens if Your Doctor Refuses to Testify

Jun 28, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

In your medical malpractice case in New York, what happens if your doctor refuses to come into court and testify as an expert on your behalf?

A Doctor is the Best Witness

It is very helpful if your doctor is willing to come in and testify on your behalf. This is because there is nobody better to tell the jury what your problems are, what complaints you made, what treatment was rendered to you, and what your prognosis is. This doctor knows your body better than you do and certainly in different ways.

There is nobody better because this doctor has spent considerable time with you, going through your history, scrutinizing your current problems, formulating a treatment plan, and trying to figure out what is going to happen to you in future.

Why Doctors do not Want to Testify?

However, it is not uncommon if a doctor refuses to come into court and testify on their patient’s behalf. Why is that? It is because most doctors do not want anything to do with the legal process. They do not like taking time out of their busy schedule of seeing patients, coming to court, and testifying on your behalf, regardless of whether they are getting paid for their time or not. On top of that, it may not even matter how much you two get along. Even if you play pick-up basketball together that may not be enough to persuade your doctor to show up to court for your case (well, before you were injured of course).

When you have filed a personal injury case, what can your attorney do, if your doctor is refusing to come in and testify to the jury about your current treatment?

Securing a Medical Expert

The only other option you have is to find and secure a medical expert. This expert will have to review all of your medical records and read about the treatments you are undergoing. The expert will then testify for you and your lawyer can explain to the jury that the doctor has reviewed all your records. During the questioning process, your lawyer will ask this expert about his opinions.

For example, a typical question from you attorney in this scenario would be: "Doctor Thomas, can you please explain to the jury what the records of my client indicate". The expert will be asked to give his opinions and the conclusions he has drawn after studying your medical records. Your lawyer will ask the expert about your current health condition, whether he believes you are suffering from pain or discomfort. Lastly and most important, your lawyer will ask the expert about your prognosis.

In a personal injury case, the jury must know about the injuries you have suffered, the pain you are suffering, and the possible state of your health in the future. Your doctor would be the best witness to explain to the jury all these things about you since he has seen you plenty of times since your injury.

However, it is possible that your doctor will refuse to come to court and testify, even if the pay is right. In these circumstances, you must hire a medical expert to present your medical facts to the jury since the jury considers a doctor a credible witness and is more likely to believe what he says rather than just you and your attorney.