Will I Need to Testify in My IVC Filter Case?

The plaintiff will probably need to give deposition testimony in a lawsuit over injury from a failed inferior vena cava (IVC) filter, but trial testimony is unlikely.

Updated by , J.D.

Surgical implant of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a common intervention to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and the occurrence of a pulmonary embolism. But increased use of IVC filters has corresponded with a rise in complications linked to this kind of procedure, which has prompted the filing of thousands of IVC filter lawsuits nationwide.

If you're considering a legal claim over a defective IVC filter or an improper implant procedure, one concern might be whether you'll need to testify. The short answer is probably yes. But when and where?

Plaintiff's Testimony In an IVC Filter Case

There are usually two potential times when a plaintiff (the person filing the IVC filter lawsuit) will need to testify. The first is during discovery, when the defendant (typically the manufacturer of the defective IVC filter, or a health care professional who committed medical negligence during the implant procedure) asks to take the plaintiff's deposition. The second potential setting for the plaintiff's testimony is during trial.

Deposition Testimony

A deposition is a question-and-answer session in which a person (whether a party to a lawsuit or a witness) answers questions under oath. In a case over complications stemming from an IVC filter, the defendant (usually through a team of attorneys) will want to take a plaintiff's deposition for a number of reasons, including:

  • to get an idea of how credible and sympathetic the plaintiff might come across to a jury
  • to find out more about the plaintiff's legal claims (including details of the plaintiff's diagnosis of IVC filter failure and necessary corrective treatment)
  • to obtain additional information that may support or refute a potential legal argument
  • to get the plaintiff to confirm a particular statement or fact while under oath
  • to get information to potentially contradict something the plaintiff already said or might say in the future, and
  • to ask questions that might lead to new information.

Trial Testimony

Most IVC filter cases reach a settlement, so it's rare for these lawsuits to reach the trial stage. And while a plaintiff is not legally required to testify at trial, it's usually expected. When a plaintiff doesn't take the witness stand and testify, the judge or jury deciding the case might assume there's a weakness in the evidence, or that there's something the plaintiff is trying to hide.

But more importantly, a plaintiff's testimony can be very compelling, especially to a juror. Almost no other piece of evidence from the plaintiff can convey the extent of the harm and other losses the plaintiff has experienced.

Likelihood of Plaintiff's Testimony in an IVC Filter Case

It's likely that the plaintiff will at least need to testify in a deposition. As mentioned above, most IVC filter cases reach settlement, but it's rare for any kind of resolution to take place before the two sides go through the information-gathering "discovery" process. A key tool in this process is the deposition. At a minimum, it will give the defendant an idea of what to expect from the plaintiff should they testify at trial.

While the plaintiff's deposition might not be as important as certain others—expert witness testimony typically looms largest in an IVC filter case—the defendant will want the opportunity to ask the plaintiff about a number of details related to the case, whether the plaintiff is claiming that:

In either kind of case, the defendant will want the opportunity to ask the plaintiff about a number of details related to the case, especially as to symptoms associated with the IVC filter failure and the effects on the plaintiff's daily life.

The likelihood of a plaintiff testifying at trial is much lower, simply because there's little chance of a trial actually taking place. But when an IVC filter case does make it all the way to trial, the plaintiff's testimony will only improve his or her chances of winning, since:

  • The plaintiff's own words will help bolster the case. In many lawsuits over complications from an IVC filter implant, a plaintiff will want to recover compensation for pain and suffering and other damages that are fairly subjective from person to person. No one knows more about these losses (and their impact) than the plaintiff. Learn more about how much an IVC filter case might be worth.
  • The defendant might contend that the plaintiff should have done more to reduce any harm or complications from a defective or botched implant. The plaintiff will want an opportunity to refute this argument.

If you're thinking about filing a lawsuit over injuries caused by a defective IVC filter or an implant procedure that involved medical malpractice, you and your lawyer will work together to develop the best strategy for your case. Learn more about finding the right attorney for your IVC filter case and how your lawyer will be paid.

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