What is a Dental Expert Witness (DEW)?

The Expert Witness

You’ve been hurt or injured; “Do you have a case?”. You will need independent legal advice. Alas, life’s not always fair and often-times other people have their own agendas.

You need a lawyer, but they too may still need more information to decide if you have a case, and if you do, what injuries there are and the value of fighting the case for you.

For this, your lawyer will need an expert. This is where the Dental Expert Witness’ role becomes invaluable.

The Dental Expert Witness’ opinion is relied upon by the lawyer and possibly court, in order to assist the client’s legal counsel, opposing counsel and potentially a court to make an educated decision based on facts.

Information provided by a Dental expert witness (DEW) supplied must be impartial, accurate, and based on fact and be seen not to have a hidden agenda or ulterior motive.

One problem is that here in Canada such expert witnesses are not freely available and therefore not called upon and hundreds, possibly thousands of injured parties do not get fair compensation because their legal counsel doesn’t realize that this resource is available and can be used to their, and their client’s benefit.

A good DEW, honestly and with good command of the facts can however turn a case and increase the settlement value of a case.

In dentistry that opinion may be about a dental or orofacial injury sustained, dental work or service that has failed, an opinion may be required following a car or job site accident. Jaw and Jaw joint injuries are common yet regularly missed and this results in compromised medical and legal determination. Cause and effect is of course, crucial information.

The DEWs’ opinion can relate to complex issues such as jaw joint problems, TemporoMandibular joint Disorders –(TMD) which often result from car accidents and indeed, even unfortunately, dental treatment itself.

Dental Sleep Medicine issues in dentistry (relating to Snoring and/or Obstructive Sleep Apnea) are becoming a potential ‘legal mine-field’ with little understanding of process by some of those providing the service who are neither aware of the expectations of care or of the potentially serious consequences of not adhering to these standards.

DEW opinion can relate to alleged professional malpractice through errors or omissions in professional dental care or lack thereof.

A Dental Expert Witness’ opinion can provide evidence in the defense of actions taken to provide professional care too. The Dental Expert Witness’ opinion should help with the overall understanding of the facts of the matter. It must always be honest (to the facts) and impartial too. This usually takes the form of a detailed report answering certain questions or issues that have already or may arise in the case and if necessary may require support in the courtroom.

Dr. Bray offers the services of an Independent Expert Witness in dental matters. His work includes clinical assessments, reports and attendance at courts and hearings. He has been receiving instructions from solicitors in dento-legal matters for over 15 years and worked in both the UK and Canada in this capacity.