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May I be subpoenaed to testify as a witness at a deposition or trial?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Adrienne J. Hersh, JD
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Q: May I be subpoenaed to testify as a witness at a deposition or trial, and must my services be compensated?

 

A.:  A physician may testify in a deposition or trial as a treating physician or as an expert witness. In either case, where the physician is sought as a witness (a non-party to the lawsuit), the law now provides that testimony may be taken only with the doctor’s consent, or pursuant to subpoena issued under court order. Whether you testify at by agreement or by court order, the party issuing the subpoena must pay you a reasonable fee for your time (generally more than normal witness fees).

 

If you are subpoenaed by your patient’s attorney to testify at trial as the treating physician, you should discuss your fee with the attorney.  In most cases, the attorney will come to agreement with you for a reasonable fee, because the attorney needs you to prove the patient’s case.

 

If you are subpoenaed by either party not as the treating physician but as an expert witness, for example, when you have reviewed the file as an expert, you are also entitled to a reasonable fee.  The court will conduct a hearing to determine the amount of a reasonable fee if you and the party issuing the subpoena cannot agree.

 

For a members-only handout containing a more detailed discussion of this issue, including a sample form for a Petition for Fees, please Click Here.

 

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