A 30-year old man slips at a construction site, banging his mouth. Two teeth are lost as a result of the accident.
Working on a BC construction site a 30-year old man Mr. C. slipped and hit his mouth on a wooden plank, loosing two front teeth. Mr. C. was covered by site “work safe” insurance and claimed through a local dentist for treatment to replace them. His dentist immediately submitted a claim to replace them. After hearing comments made in the local bar, the site manager suspected something was amiss, as it appeared that Mr. C was soon to leave his employ and move to a different Province.
A Dental Expert Witness Report was requested by the company’s legal counsel and upon his clinical examination; the sockets from which the teeth were lost appeared advanced in their healing. There was therefore some question as to whether the teeth were actually lost at the time of the reported accident. Careful investigation uncovered dental records indicating that the teeth had been removed as an emergency procedure a week prior to the alleged accident, by a dentist in Mr. C’s home Province (to which he would be moving back shortly) thus demonstrating that the loss of the teeth was not due to the alleged fall. Upon discussing this with Mr. C. he said that he’d seen blood and thought they were two different teeth. His claim for a replacement fixed bridge was withdrawn.
Such actions drive up the cost of insurance premiums and the cost of “doing business” for companies. Relying on honesty may not work for everyone – both the alleged injured claimant and the dentist claiming for the work to be performed, can make ‘mistakes’. The use of an Expert Witness’ Report is often a responsible and prudent response to personal injury claims be it workplace or other.
Author – Stephen Bray DDS