“I don’t want to go to Court!”
This is an understandable lament. Neither does your patient. The statistics continue to demonstrate that at least 90% of cases will settle out-of-Court. Therefore, it is most unlikely that you will ever be called to Court (or to arbitration for that matter). But, in the unlikely event that a case does proceed to adjudication, it is quite likely that you will be called as a witness.
It is not a pre-condition that you must have completed an expert report prior to testifying in Court, but for the reasons set out, above, it certainly is an excellent aid to preparation for testifying.
You will be advised of a trial date well in advance, but do not revise your schedule because, based on statistics, it is unlikely that your patient’s case will proceed to trial. However, in the event the case is not resolved in the month preceding the trial, your patient’s lawyer should contact you to arrange a time to meet with you (ideally in person) to review the case with you, highlight the issues, and give you a better idea of what to expect as a witness. It is most helpful if you have reviewed your patient’s chart prior to this meeting to improve efficiency.
It is also imperative that you provide your Curriculum Vitae upon request to assist the Court in qualifying you as an expert witness.
You will be asked what day(s) of the week are least inconvenient for you to attend court, and every effort will be made to accommodate your schedule. As the trial date nears, our office will liaise with yours to keep you notified. In the event the matter does proceed to trial, we will give you as much notice as possible. Please do not cancel your appointments until you have received notice of when you are required to be in Court.
Do remember, however, that we are just as much at the mercy of Court scheduling as you are. We, as your patient’s counsel, have an obligation to the Court to keep witnesses coming so as to not delay the proceedings unduly. However, the Courts have proven to be accommodating, within reason, of the demands of an expert’s schedule.
You are entitled to be compensated for your time in preparing for a meeting with your patient’s lawyer, meeting with the lawyer, for any time spent in preparing to testify and for testifying in Court. Timely billing for these services is much appreciated to ensure full recovery of these expenses.