Depositions Don’t Have to be Hard
If you are going to be in the injury market and you are a great doctor, you need to be in the injury market. Injury patients need great doctors. If you’re looking at the injury market saying, “I just don’t want to do depositions”, “I don’t want to do court trials.” Don’t look at it that way. It’s very, very easy.
Depositions are part of being an injury doctor. If you are a Smart Injury Doctor and document as you go, depositions cease to be a stressful or hard activity. As a matter of fact, they can be incredibly fun. Now, why do I say that? I say that from years of experience. I say that from doing lots of depositions. I say that from being successful in court. I say that from training doctors, Smart Injury Doctors, for many years on how to simplify and document as they go. Enabling them to be confident and competent in depositions.
A good example of using standardized methods and depositions is a dentist. He has a patient that was in an accident and the dentist lost their two front teeth on the steering wheel. The dentist did his evaluation, X ray, history, etc. He determined the course of action and did that action. He documented what was done. Would that dentist worry about going into deposition? No. Would he worry about going to trial and testifying? No. Okay, so what are you worried about? What gives you worry when you worry?
From all of my years in the injury market, as a doctor, as an educator, I know it comes from not using standardized procedures. It’s not actually having procedures where you immediately week one, determine the severity and location of all of the patient’s spinal injuries and any other injuries for that matter.
You need to objectified it. Make it objective, not subjective. You are high level professional and use only high level professionals to assist you with objectifying it.
If you’re sending out for an MRI, you’re using the best MRI center you can find. If you’re sending out for excessive motion testing, you’re looking for the best radiology service you can find. When using a high level of objectivity, you understand the consensus, the best practices behind this, you’re putting your patient on a treatment plan that’s consistent with all of the best practices that you utilize, that you’re communicating to the market in your patient’s notes that you utilize them. You’re now getting a great result with a patient. Maybe it takes four months, six months, eight months, whatever it takes. However long it takes, right?
You’re documenting your outcome assessment procedures, you’re documenting any duties and address loss of enjoyment of life factors. You’re documenting disability. You’ve referred out to any other kind of professionals. If you need any kind of co-evaluation for a disability case, in the case of an impairment that actually affects a person’s ability to do their work or their job.
When you do all this and do it standardly, as a professional, you do it over and over and over and over and over again, and you do it in the same way. You will see, just like the dentist, the patients, those are all different. But the treatment varies very little. The only variable is the way people respond to treatment, but what you’re doing and how you’re applying it is all the same.
The wildcard is the patient and their response. But how you document and what you do that’s systemized, that’s standard, that’s very easy to make standard. If your clinic right now is not standard, you are going to have a hard time with depositions and court trials. That is what a Smart Injury Doctor knows and understands. Being part of our team of dedicated doctors, using the proper and standardized methods, eliminates this difficulty.
It is not hard to go into a court trial to say, okay, here’s what the patient had. Yes, they had an injury. I know what the mechanism of injury is. Mechanism is forced delivery system, the injuries is the derangement pattern that’s left behind and there’s three basic derangement patterns that the spine can undergo or a combination of these three. You can either break it or there’s two significant ligament findings.
One is a disc herniation, which is not as significant as excessive motion. The other is excessive motion, which is found on stress radiology. Disc herniation is found on MRI. Remember, there’s on 23 discs. There’s 220 specialized ligaments, so you’d better be covering all of the ligaments and the ligament injuries. You’ve done that, you’ve got all the injuries, you’ve got it highly documented, you know the consensus, you know your guidelines. Now it’s just sitting down in a deposition and explaining it and actually realizing that your documentation is so good. My documentation was so good when I finished in private practice that I was sitting there and wondering why would anybody depose me or why would I be in court. All you have to do is read my notes and read my end report. Read my two page summary that summarizes everything that I’ve done and what the patient had, what we did and where we’re at now. Because that’s what I’m going to be testifying about. That’s what I’m going to be talking about. That’s what I’m going to be talking about, whether I’m in deposition or whether I’m in court.
And if they want to argue with me, they are arguing with objectivity. Arguing with consensus. If you have a problem with the impairment level I gave, then you have a problem with the AMA, not me, because I’m doing it exactly the way the AMA said to do it. If you have a problem with the severity and location of the injury, I did the imaging. I’m showing you the consensus of what the results mean. I’m showing the consensus of what fellow doctors say. What is the consensus of the research? This is what it says. If you want to argue, argue with that consensus.
And when you’re doing it at this level and you’re doing it very simply so that somebody who’s 14 years old can understand what you’re saying, then these depositions and court trials are very easy. They’re not hard. And they’re a great source of referrals.
Remember, a lot of doctors out there looking for attorney referrals. Well, attorneys that actually have doctors that do well in deposition or do well in trial, that’s a great source of relief for the attorney. That’s a doctor that the attorney looks to and says, “Okay, that’s somebody I can refer to,” because number one, they don’t miss injuries. Number two, they get great results with my clients. Number three, they document and their documentation is impeccable and number four, you can understand everything that they’re saying and they present the material extremely well if we need to go into deposition or trial.
It’s not complicated. I’ve trained a lot of doctors how to do very, very well in depositions and in trials, and it always comes back to simple basics. Simple basics.
I have a group of doctors called Smart Injury Doctors and I get calls from our group members and they say things like this “Oh my God, I can’t believe it’s that simple.” It is that simple. It’s only complicated when you complicate it.
So in your depositions, keep it simple. Improve yourself clinically to understand how to systemize workups, get that education. You’re putting out a lot of stress that’s unnecessary and you’re missing out on a lot of expansion that can occur within your own practice
The Smart Injury Doctors Education Program is totally geared toward ligament injuries. The number one cause of pain and disability in the world today. This program is designed to simplifying your understanding of that. And it’s also geared toward helping you be much better in depositions and in court trials.