Be prepared for open ended questions. If they have gathered well, deposing attorneys will probably jump right to your opinions, have you enunciate each one, and then ask you to tell them what you did to reach each of those conclusions. For each opinion, they may repeat the same sequence of questions: what exact procedures did you follow, Mr. Expert? Can you explain those steps further? They may well ask what steps you did not pursue, and why? Can you tell them about the results? For each result, they may ask you to describe in detail how that result affected each opinion you offered. They will ask open-ended questions about what assumptions you made in your explorations. In all cases, they are hoping that you will ramble on enough to give them useful extra information.
Listen. Listen. Listen… to precisely what an attorney asks you. If you do not hear the question fully, or if you do not understand the question completely, how can you possibly respond to it effectively?
And who was at fault when the patient died on the surgery table? Was it the hospital, the internist, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the nurse, the manufacturer of the shunt, or the HMO? There will be an Expert witness for and against each position.
First, you typically should not have to pay anything up front. There should be no hourly fees charges. The fee would be limited to a percentage from a recovery. It should state that if there is no recovery, there is no fee. (In some cases, where it is not a pure personal injury case or where it’s a different type of case- like a bad faith insurance case, it may be appropriate for a retainer along with a Contingent Fee Agreement or a retainer for costs).
The savvy businessman across the table wears a mask to conceal his emotions so he’ll have the advantage in the negotiation. Can you read the telltale nonverbal signals? Some nonverbal reactions that are very informative, such as the Adam’s Apple Jump, are beyond conscious control.
Trial testimony could be as little as 15 minutes or as much as an hour or two. Do not be misled into thinking that trial testimony will take anywhere near as much time as did your deposition.
There are 5 things you must do to prepare yourself for this all important day in court and 10 things you must never do. Do you have the slightest idea what they are?
Expert witnesses have been used in court cases for about as long as the court system has existed. Their presence should actually increase as we move into a more complex society in the future.