"> Experts - Where, Who, How



LNCtips.com: Experts: Where, Who, How

If you're a new legal nurse consultant who wants to serve as an expert, you probably have questions about the testimony process.  I've got some practical answers about where, who, and how this process works.

The questions below pertain to experts who work for either the defendant or the plaintiff.  For the sake of simplicity, let's say that you will be working as an expert for the plaintiff in the case. 


Where will you be deposed?  Your deposition will occur on your home turf, even if the case is in another state.  "Home turf" could be your office, the plaintiff attorney's office, a court reporter's office, or a rented conference room in or near your city of residence.

Where will you testify at trial?  Assuming that it's a county case, you'll testify in the county where the case was filed.  Your testimony will usually be in a courtroom, but it could also be in another area designated by the court such as a conference room or other area.


Who pays you to testify at trial?  Nobody pays you to testify because that would imply that you have a monetary stake in the outcome of the case.  However, the plaintiff will pay for all your expenses, including the TIME you spend testifying.  It's a fine but important distinction.

Who pays you to testify at your deposition?  The attorney who deposes you will be a defense attorney, and this attorney will pay you for the time you spend in your deposition.  Because you won't have a working relationship with the defense attorney, you may want to request payment for "x" hours of testimony prior to or at the time of the deposition.


How will you be scheduled for your deposition and trial testimony? 

For depositions:  There is a cumbersome, behind-the scenes process to set up depositions such as yours.

* The defense attorney's staff won't contact you, even though they're the ones who will ultimately schedule the deposition.  The defendant attorney's staff will speak with the plaintiff attorney's staff to request several dates of availability for your deposition. 

* The plaintiff's staff will then speak to you to obtain the dates. 

* The staff members from the offices of both the plaintiff and defendant attorneys will then determine if the attorneys are available on any of those dates. 

* If either attorney is unavailable, the process starts over.

* If both attorneys are available, the defendant's attorney issues a written notice to all parties detailing the time, date, and location of the deposition. 

* The process is complicated if there is more than one defendant (and therefore more attorneys) in the case.  Thus, it's common for the staffs to repeat this process several times before all parties can be available. 

For trials, there is a different process.  The court schedules trials for a period of weeks or months called a trial docket.  When the court schedules your case on a trial docket, your attorney will determine your availability for testimony during the specified period.  If you are absolutely unavailable (for example, you will be out of the country), the attorney may ask the court to place the trial on a later docket.  Otherwise, the attorney will ask you to testify on a specific date or during a small date range.

Of course, there are always exceptions to this process, and the process can vary by state. However, knowing the where, who, and how will help LNC experts understand the testimony process.

...Katy Jones