Legal nurse consultants and expert witnesses sometimes have difficulty collecting for their services. Getting expert witness payment for depositions can be tricky. Check out this advice for solving and avoiding the problem.
I received this email about expert witness payment for depositions
Dear Pat, I have a question regarding failure of an attorney to pay me within 30 days – for a video/audio depo done. He took my deposition. My client paid me within a week after I did the initial work.
It is now going on 60 days since I sent the invoice to opposing (defense) counsel. What is the proper protocol? I called, emailed etc… The secretary gave me the run around – it was submitted to someone – for processing she says. Should I be sending a second notice? Should I/can I send him to collection agency? Trial is out of state in April. Can I just not show up if he does not pay me?
Here’s what you can do now to address this problem. Right now, write a demand letter asking to be paid by x date (2 weeks in future) and if you are not paid, you will charge interest. Send the letter certified mail return receipt requested and also mail it first class. The defense attonrey may be waiting for the insurance company to pay the bill.
If opposing counsel does not pay your invoice, contact your client. Ask her to pay you and to get reimbursed by opposing counsel. Explain to your client that you cannot schedule the time to go to court in April unless all of your outstanding invoices have been paid. Your client has a powerful incentive to get you into the courtroom to testify on her behalf.
While you could send the defense attorney to a collection agency, it is far less preferable a solution to making your own client responsible for fixing her adversary’s failure to pay you. It takes a long time for a collection agency to work through their steps. Reporting an attorney to the bar association also may be done, but should be a last resort. It is a potent and unpleasant threat.
Here’s what you can do to avoid this problem about expert witness payment for depositions. Always make your client responsible for paying you for your deposition preparation and time. She is your client, not the opposing counsel.
When you are notified that your deposition will be taken, calculate how much time you have to spend on preparation, travel and testifying for 6 hours. Ask for this in advance. Overestimate. It is better to not use all of the retainer than to have a balance owed.
Hope this helps.
Learn how to avoid collection problems by watching this video of Pat Iyer speaking on the topic to business owners.