Subpoenas - what the heck am I supposed to do?

I have a question to put out to the group. I got a subpoena today (no, I didn’t do anything wrong … this time) to show up in court as a witness. I managed a patient this summer who was hit by a car whilst on his motorbike - the car driver is being charged with some sort of careless driving. Questions - 1. Why the heck would they even want me to show up - its not like I saw the accident.2. Am I allowed to say anything given I have no release of information form from the patient I saw?3. Has anyone else been through this and do they have any suggestions? Unfortunately there is no contact information on the subpoena - just a date and time I am supposed to go to court. Seems like a big waste of time (mine) and money (oh yeah … I’m guessing they won’t even pay for my parking).:mad: Thanks all for your help.Christine

Christine,As luck would have it…I have to go to court in the am for a attempted homicide case. I have been subpoenaed a few times, though this is the 1st time I have had to show up.Generally you call ask the officer for the crown attorney’s name. If you don’t get it, call 519-660-3003 (Crown’s office) and give the name of the person charged. They can tell you the Crown’s name. Then speak to the Crown. I have found that usually they keep you on the docket…and if you follow up closer to the court date, you often get removed from the witness list (fingers crossed).Perhaps others have different experiences?DI’ll let you know how tomorrow goes.

Drew I have had several such subpoenas over the years, and I have had to attend only a minority of them. In one, I got all the way to sitting in my suit and tie in the court waiting room, waiting beyond the scheduled time, when the Crown lawyer came out and told me I wasn’t needed. As Christine said, you should call the Crown at the number on the Subpoena. The Crown wants you as a Fact Witness to verify the injuries to support the case of harm, and they usually don’t want to inconvenience you. Often I have been able to get him or her to send me a signed release from the patient allowing a writtten statement that can be entered in the Court, if the Crown can get the defence lawer to agree. Remember that a Subpoena is only an order to appear in Court, and does not order you to release information until you are sworn in at the court; you are not to give information about the patient until you have his written consent OR you are before the judge. I have appeared in court (as a fact witness!) and at a corner’s inquest. Although daunting, it was an interesting process. Call the CMPA if you have to go because they gave me some good, helpful coaching. See also the CMPA Info Letter: [URL=][/URL]

Not a big deal really.Delayed for 30 minutes prior to being called.Took the witness stand (no chair, you stand), and answered a bunch of questions. Probably 30 mins total with Prosecution and Defense.Never had to say “You can’t handle the truth!!” but was waiting for the opportunity.DPS - interesting that the paraemdics there today are paid to be there (as a day of work). Do we have a process of billing? or is it just bad luck?

I recall being paid for travelling from my practice in Pennsylvania for a sexual assault case I had seen in Leamington. They paid also for my flight, and a nice plainclothes police officer picked me up in Detroit airport in an unmarked car (saftey issues, driving a police cruiser in Detroit was felt to be foolhardy). I remember being asked by the defence if bruises could be aged by colour and appearance, and then seeing the Robbins Pathology text waved in theatrical fashion with “are you familiar with this book”. According to the OMA, you can bill the Crown for $50 a day, plus travel and other expenses. If you can make a case for being an expert witness, you can bill more, like $125 an hour, or $350 per half day, or $650 per day. Usually if you are called as Treating physician you get nothing, or $50 dollars. Chalk it up to civic duty. See: [URL=][/URL] page xii Roy

Christine, This is another nice surprise about becoming a consultant. Nine times out of ten you can get out of showing up or they cancel you at the last minute. It is still a pain in the ass though, because they are really disorganized in the Crown Attourney’s office. You should call the Crown Attourney’s office. If you have the name of the charged person, they will be able to give you the name of the assistant crown that has been assigned to the file. Call that person and find out if they really need you or not. Be sure to tell them that you don’t have any records other than what is in the hospital chart. Probably best to familiarze yourself with the case before you call. I’ve been subpoena’d lots of times and only had to show up once, but that was for a high profile case in which four teenagers were killed. Bill

Wow - thank you everyone for your input and suggestions.Christine