b'Court Questions:LEGAL Q&A CHIRO AssistWhat to Expect if Youre By Jeffrey RandolphANJC Legal CounselAsked to Appear?Q I was called to testify in courtdetermining. Fact witnesses generallyas a consequence. You should ask concerning my treatment of a patientcannot be presented hypotheticalthe attorney for all relevant medical Legislative Update questions and asked to providerecords, diagnostic testing, as well and was asked to bring my patient file. What should i do?an opinion on the assumed facts.as copies of the complaint, any However, an expert witness candiscovery exchanged in the matter, A Doctors at various times are called tobe presented a hypothetical set ofand deposition transcripts to review. testify in court concerning their carefacts and assumptions and asked toTECHNIQUE Councilof a patient injured in a motor vehicleIn your report, you should detail accident or other type of incident. Inprovide an opinion accordingly, so beall materials reviewed, provide a addition to verbal testimony, manyprepared to answer such questions.summary of the case, and at the end, times the patient file will be enteredYou are most likely being paid as anprovide an opinion, to a reasonable into evidence for the jury to review.expert and your compensation maydegree of chiropractic certainty, on While certified true and completebe in the thousands of dollars. It isthe issues you were asked to address. Update copy of a patient file are admissibleadvisable that the fact that you areIf you have any questions or are not as long as there is no objection byOUR HEALTHbeing paid and how much be broughtsure how to address a particular issue, attorneys involved, it is better toout by the attorney calling you as acontact the attorney that retained bring your original file with you. Thewitness on direct examination ratheryou. They cannot tell you what to file will have an exhibit sticker placedthan on cross examination by theopine or write the report for you but on it by the court clerk and movedopposing counsel. This presentscan guide you as to how to proceed into evidence by the attorney thatthe fact that you are paid directly toor provide you samples of prior called you to testify at trial. Your filethe jury by you and not only afterexpert reports you can use as a guide. will go into the jury room duringit is pulled out of you by the other deliberations and will be returned toattorney. The most important adviceJeffrey Randolph, Esq. (the author you after the trial. It is a good ideathat can be given is: prepare, prepare,of Legal Ease and Legal Q&A) is an to sit down with the attorney thatand prepare again. Know your fileindependent person of the ANJC and asked you to testify before the trialinside and out, anticipate any hardhis views are not authorized, sponsored, to review your file to see if any itemsquestions on cross examination, andor otherwise approved by the ANJC. should be removed. Some documentsdont fumble through your file on theThe information provided is for general such as those concerning insurancewitness stand trying to find a note orguidance on matters of interest only coverage or payments and communi- test report; know exactly where toand may not take into account particular cations with attorneys may need to find it.facts relevant to your individual situation. be removed due to the prohibitionThe application and impact of laws of the jury being presented withQ I was asked to act as a chiropracticand health care can vary widely based information about insurance coverageexpert witness in a malpractice caseon the specific facts involved. Given and have not done so before. Whatthe changing nature of laws, rules and and the work product privilege.am I expected to do? regulations, there may be omissions or Consult with the attorney that askedinaccuracies in information contained you to testify and dont just removeA If you agree to act as an expertin these materials. Accordingly, the items yourself.witness in your field, you should firstinformation you receive is provided enter a written retainer agreementwith the understanding that the author Q I was called to testify at a trial as anwith the attorney that has asked toand the ANJC are not herein engaged expert witness. What should I expect? act in this capacity. This will protectin rendering legal, accounting, tax, your communications with thehealth care or other professional advice A There is a distinction under theattorney and the patient under theand services nor are they providing Court Rules and Rules of Evidenceattorney-client and/or work productspecific advice with regard to your between a fact witness who is calledprivileges. The attorney shouldpractice, the treatment of any specific to testify limited to facts in their ownindicate clearly what issues they wantillness, disease, deformity or condition, knowledge concerning treatmentyou to provide an expert opinion on.or any other matter that affects trade, and an expert witness hired toIn malpractice cases, this is usually:commerce, or legal rights of others. provide opinions in the case. You areAs such, this article should not be not being called as a fact witnessi) whether another provider in yourused as a substitute for consultation to testify as to your treatment andfield of practice deviated from thewith professional accounting, tax, diagnosis of your patient and shouldnormal standard of care; and/or ii)legal, health care, or other competent expect questions concerning yourwhether the deviation caused anadvisers. Before making any decision or opinions on care and other issuesinjury to the patient; and/or iii) iftaking any action, you should consult an that an expert can assist the jury inthe patient was permanently injuredappropriately trained professional. www.njchiropractors.com I 9'