I have been subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit. Should I hire an attorney?

By | 2022-02-14T17:49:36-05:00 March 30th, 2011|0 Comments


Dear Nancy,

I received a subpoena to provide testimony in a hepatitis C exposure case. After the patient’s hepatitis C exposure, I treated him for his diabetes and started insulin.

I am unsure as to why I have received a subpoena. I carry malpractice insurance and have called my insurance carrier for advice and recommendations. My employer is not listed on the lawsuit, so the organization is of no help in the matter except to say I must use my personal time to cover the time off from work to testify. Should I have my own lawyer? I am not listed in the lawsuit, either.


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Alicia,

You probably received a subpoena in this matter because you may have information that you will testify about that will be helpful in some way in the lawsuit. In other words, you will be testifying about such things as your observations of the patient, when you visited him, what you did, what the patient said to you during the visit and other such matters. Your testimony might be used to confirm another witness’ testimony or to help clarify other testimony or facts in the case. Whatever your testimony is, it must be truthful.

You did not include from whom the subpoena came: the patient’s attorney or the defendant’s attorney. In either case, you may have information that is needed in the case about issues that are in dispute.

It was important that you contacted your professional liability insurance carrier. Continue to follow their agents’ recommendations and advice. If the insurance company does not provide you with an attorney to accompany you during your testimony, it would be helpful to you to have a nurse attorney or attorney with you. Although you may need to pay the attorney for his or her services, it is always a good idea to be represented when giving testimony. Although you are not a named defendant in the lawsuit, you need to make certain your rights are fully protected when you are testifying under oath.



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