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John Legal
John Legal, Attorney
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Experience:  Over 15 years legal experience.
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I have been notified by an attorney at the hospital I work

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I have been notified by an attorney at the hospital I work at that I am being called as a fact witness in a wrongful death suit filed by a patient I took care of while working as a nurse. Only the hospital is named as the defendant at this time. However, the plaintiffs are claiming that a drug I administered (as ordered by a physician) contributed largely to the patient's demise.
Should I notify my malpractice insurance even though I am not named as a defendant? I fear this will make the plaintiff's target me if they find out I have insurance and money to be gained.
Should I feel confident in the hospital's representation? I feel that their goal is to protect the hospital.
Is everything I say/do protected under lawyer/client privelege with both a malpractice attorney and a hospital attorney?
If I had a home journal of this incident, would that hinder or help me? Should I tell my attorney and let them decide or do they have to disclose it?
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

You certainly should contact your malpractice insurance carrier immediately. Your policy actually likely requires you to contact them as soon as you find out there is a possible claim or else they will not cover you for that claim. They will even likely pay for you to obtain an attorney to represent you in this action. Contacting your carrier really will not be something you have to disclose to the plaintiff unless you are asked in court or in a deposition.

You should NOT feel comfortable in the hospital's representation. It is possible that their interest aligns with yours. However, if they do not align on an issue then the hospital attorney will do what is in the best interest of the hospital regardless of how it affects you. Nothing you tell the hospital attorney is protected under privilege. The hospital lawyer works for the hospital and not you so anything you tell that lawyer can be disclosed and used against you.

Finally, you should not disclose your journal unless specifically asked. You should tell YOUR (not the hospital) attorney about the journal and let them make the decision on release of the journal or not.

I cannot provide you with legal advise. I have provided you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you find online, should not take the place of having a consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So, I should voluntarily disclose the journal to my malpractice attorney. Is there any instance where they are required to disclose that I have a journal to the hospital or plaintiff?


You should disclose the journal to your attorney. You have attorney/client privilege with your attorney and you need to be fully open with your attorney to assure that you are receiving the best representation.

Your attorney is not allowed to disclose the journal. However, if your attorney does know about the journal they cannot let you lie and say you do not have a journal.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

One last question (I think). What role will my malpractice attorney play in this?

The hospital attorney emailed me and attached a copy of the paperwork that was filed in the Ohio Court of Claims. They are waiting for an attorney to be assigned from the Ohio Attorney General's Office and report that the hospital's answer to the Court of Claims case is due by July 23.

As soon as an attorney from the AG office is assigned, they want to meet with me "to discuss this matter so that we can learn about the medical issues involved in the case. At that time we can also explain the litigation process and discuss next steps".

Will a malpractice attorney represent me at this meeting and attend personally? Should I tell the people at this meeting that I am represented by a malpractice attorney?

Does the fact that this issue has made it this far mean it will go to trial and I will have to testify? Can it still be settled out of court without my testimony?

You need to have your attorney at ALL meetings. You do not have to tell them that your attorney is a malpractice attorney paid by your carrier, that is your business that you do not have to disclose unless asked under oath. You can just tell them that this is your attorney.

The vast majority of cases settle out of court. This case it just in the beginning stages of filing and response it sounds like. There are months of discovery (exchange of documents and depositions (recorded, under oath questioning)) that will be done prior to the hearing. All the way up to the end of the trial (likely 6-12 months away) can the case settle.
John Legal, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience: Over 15 years legal experience.
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