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Types of Questions that should not be Asked at a Medical Malpractice Trial

In a medical malpractice trial, there are certain types of questions that should never be asked while cross-examining the defense witnesses, especially the doctor.

First type of question that should be avoided is why

While cross-examining the defense, the plaintiff's lawyer should avoid asking questions that start with a why. Being an open-ended question, it should never be asked to the witness. For instance, asking the doctor on the stand, why he did what he supposedly has done. Such a question should not be asked, as it gives the witness the opportunity to provide a long-winded explanation for his actions which can be like tossing a wrench in your moving bike spokes.

He will be able to tell the jury in detail, and explain to them why he did what he did. The plaintiff's lawyer will not want this to happen. The purpose of cross-examination is to ask the witness, direct questions that are leading. Such questions call for either yes or no answers.

The plaintiff's lawyer will want to explain to the jury what happened by getting the witness simply to agree or disagree with the statements that are being made. However, when the witness is asked, why he did what he did, it gives the opportunity to the witness to ramble on for a long time. If the plaintiff's lawyer then tries to stop the witness from answering, the defense lawyer and the judge will object, since the question was asked and the witness has the right to answer the question fully.

Second type that should not be asked is an explanation

Another question that should not be asked at cross-examination is asking for an explanation or the reasoning behind what was done. For instance, asking the witness, "Please explain to the jury, why you did this...?" This is similar to the first question because this is also open-ended. When such a question is asked, the witness gets the opportunity to take over, and explain the matter in a way that would be favorable to him. In such an event, the plaintiff's lawyer will not be able to present the story to the jury in a way that he had intended.

Third type is never asking questions for which the answers are not known to the lawyer

The lawyer should never ask a question to the witness, for which he does not already know the answer to. Such questions can potentially ruin the whole case. How does the plaintiff's lawyer know what answer the witness is going to give to questions asked at the trial? The lawyer has the opportunity to learn such answers during pre-trial deposition sessions or examination before trial.

These are questions and answers session held in an attorney's office under oath. Therefore, before the trial takes place, the lawyer will know exactly what the witness will testify to during trial. When the witness is on the stand during the trial, and lawyer is cross-examining him, the lawyer would not want to ask a question that he does not already know the answer. A new answer would not only be shocking but has the potential to destroy their case as well. No one trying a case wants a serious setback like that or a setback at all!

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