Dr. David Illig is one of the most experienced medical malpractice trial consultants in the USA . Much of Dr. Illig’s work in this area involves preparing the witness how to tell their story to a jury at trial or to safely navigate a deposition conducted by an experienced interrogator (the opposition attorney). Communicating to “civilian” jurors on medical issues, either defense or plaintiff, is especially challenging for witnesses. Almost all clients need extensive training in med mal cases….and yet very few actually receive it. Jurors think the clients ALL GET TRAINING AND SHOULD. This can give you a huge advantage if you do things differently than most attorneys. TRAIN…. PRACTICE with your witnesses. Do Ethical Coaching. Coaching how to figure out the truth and how to get it across is not making up false things to say.
On the Plaintiff side: Dr. Illig has worked on a wide range of medical Plaintiff cases. With all types of injured clients and their families.
Just because a person or their family member has been injured by medical malpractice doesn’t make them a good witness. This is true even when their own attorney is asking the questions and it’s even more true when the defense attorney is trying to make them look bad.
The injured plaintiff client is not a doctor and nor an attorney. They do have a story to tell as a patient or a family member. They have to communicate to a jury what it would be like to go through what they went through. They have to communicate to a jury what it was and is like for THEM. Just being injured doesn’t give a plaintiff the communication skills necessary to succeed at this difficult task. Sometimes the more they are injured the more difficult it is to communicate to a group of jurors. How do you communicate what it is like to be paralyzed from the chest down?
It’s also difficult to communicate the depth of their injuries when they are doing every thing they can to put the experience behind them. They are trying to move on. But the jury deserves an understanding of what the damage is really about because they will have to decide how much damage there is and what award is fair and reasonable.
Getting the truth across in either a deposition or trial is not an easy task for a truthful but injured client. This is especially true when the public is suspicious of all plaintiffs, even those seriously and improperly harmed.
DEPOSITION PREP IS INVALUABLE FOR PLAINTIFFS
Preparing the plaintiff client for deposition, using LITIGATION PSYCHOLOGY APPROACHES, is almost a sure way to significantly increase the settlement value of a case. And when the case goes to trial, having a deposition that doesn’t cause problems and accurately communicates the plaintiff’s story makes trial much easier to navigate.
On the Defense Side:
Just because a physician is a very good physician doesn’t mean they are naturally a good witness. Nurses the same. Being a good witness is not a “natural” occurance, even for a great physician or nurse or surgical tech. Just because a case is frivolous doesn’t mean the physician will be a good witness. The reality is that many physicians and nurses make very poor witnesses without training. The good news is that physicians and nurses are lifetime students. They are usually open to training. Most attorneys don’t really provide it. It needs to include both content and process. Dr. Illig gives you a way to help these clients.
Physicians may think they are used to being questioned, but…
THEY ARE NOT USED TO BEING INTERROGATED BY A TRAINED INTERROGATOR WHO ASSUMES THEY ARE AT FAULT.
Many doctors do not handle this well. Many physicians and nurses have buttons that can be easily activated. Attorneys are effective button pushers.
Plaintiff attorneys are also skilled at making even good physicians and nurses look bad. They make use of the physician’s anger, frustration, resentment and impatience.
Many doctors have trouble testifying when a patient obviously has serious problems and difficulties after medical treatment even when these problems are not due to any actions of the doctor. Juries often misinterpret the doctor’s difficulty responding to questions in this area.
Dr. Illig has worked with most medical specialties. He has also worked with a wide variety of nursing specialties as well as a most medical technologists. He has worked with hospital management and staff. He has worked with some of the most talented physicians in the country as well as physicians whose medical and communication skills make them less than ideal witnesses. He has worked in rural isolated medical settings as well as urban medical research facilities. He has worked with many foreign-born and/or foreign-educated practitioners.
One of the advantages plaintiff attorneys have in suing doctors is that quite often the doctors are so angry, resentful, impatient, and frustrated over being sued that they make poor witnesses. The plaintiff attorney takes full advantage of this barrier to good communication.
The angry, resentful, frustrated, impatient, anxious, depressed, frightened, distracted, overly busy doctor or nurse does not make an impactful witness, even when they did nothing wrong.
Almost every doctor we have ever worked with has made significant improvement as a witness. This is also true of those doctors who were considered beyond help. They too improve drastically. And even the doctors that people say will do fine, and really don’t need help, benefit greatly and leave everybody involved very glad they went through the process. Quite often, those are the ones where the process pays off the most because it prevents the unpleasant surprises that all attorneys dislike.
Attorneys and claims professionals are often surprised at who benefits greatly from the witness preparation process. In a similar way, many attorneys and claims professionals who don’t invest in witness preparation are surprised how poorly a doctor can do at deposition or at trial.
The impact of a doctor, nurse or medical technologist can change drastically with some effective and personal communication training that changes how they come across under interrogation.
DEPOSITION PREP IS INVALUABLE
Many attorneys, hospitals, and insurance companies are finding that witness preparation for deposition is a wise investment that prevents serious problems down the road. A well prepared deposition can also save huge amounts of money in settlement.