How will my attorney ask me questions at my medical malpractice trial? To put the question another way, will your attorney ask you “leading” or “non-leading” questions when you have to testify at trial? Some confusion exists surrounding this issue because of what is shown on television and in the movies. Many people are familiar with cross-examinations because of this familiarity, they assume that the direct examination at trial will play out in the same manner.
One of the main focuses of this educational article is to shed light on the different ways in which an attorney can ask questions in a trial. Remember, the information presented in this article is general information and I suggest that you speak with your attorney about any specifics as they pertain to your case.
HOW WILL MY ATTORNEY ASK ME QUESTIONS AT MY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE TRIAL?
The question of how will my attorney ask me questions at my medical malpractice trial is an important one. But to further understand the issue you have to understand what is allowed in Maryland during a direct examination vs. a cross examination.
During your direct examination your attorney will ask you what we call non-leading questions. The easiest way to understand non-leading questions is that they do not contain the answer to the question. For example on direct examination you attorney may ask you a series of questions like this:
ATTORNEY: Ms. X let me take you back to January, 1, 2015 around 3 pm. Do you remember this day and time?
WITNESS: Yes I do remember that day and time.
ATTORNEY: What was going on with you on that day and time?
WITNESS: I was checking myself in at the hospital at that time.
ATTORNEY: And while checking yourself in at the hospital did you speak to someone?
WITNESS: Yes I did, I spoke with Nurse XYZ.
As you can see with this simple example, the attorney is not leading the witness to an answer. This would be a simple illustration of a direct examination.
On the other hand, a cross examination on the same line of questioning might look like the following:
ATTORNEY: Around 3 pm on January 1, 2015, you were at the hospital?
WITNESS: Yes I was
ATTORNEY: And you checked your own self in, correct?
WITNESS: Yes I did
ATTORNEY: Nurse XYZ took down your information?
WITNESS: Yes she did
As you can see, with the cross examination, the witness has very little room to explain the answer because of the way the question is worded. This is a major difference between a cross examination and a direct examination.
DO YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS REGARDING YOUR MEDICAL INJURY IN MARYLAND?
To speak with me further regarding an injury that you have suffered at the hands of a doctor or hospital in Maryland this is what I invite you to do. Pick up the phone and give me a call.
I can be reached at 301-850-4832. I answer medical malpractice questions like yours all the time and I would be happy to listen to your story.
Boston Law Group, LLC
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815