A 45-year old lady involved in a rear end car accident starts to get headaches immediately after it.
When stopped in a traffic jam on a bridge entering a B.C. City, Mrs. A was involved in a rear end collision.
She was stopped and the impact was estimated to be around 30 mph. She felt shaken up and dizzy when the ambulance arrived but had not lost consciousness. She was sent to hospital. As nothing significant was found, she was sent home but told to come back if any problems arose.
She saw her doctor regarding headaches that came about shortly there after, who prescribed physiotherapy. Mrs. A. tried that, but preferred her chiropractor’s treatment which improved but did not resolve her problems. Her headaches persisted.
She commenced a personal injury claim against the other motorist and his insurance (ICBC). Her lawyer recognized the possibility of jaw joint involvement and contacted an Expert Witness in Dentistry.
The DEW determined that Mrs. A. had experienced some jaw joint dysfunction previously after an earlier MVA and it was her lawyer’s concern that the defense’s argument would be that the injury occurred then, not at the recent accident.
The expert witness was able to estimated the degree of dysfunction and likelihood of further damage based on fact and science illustrating that further and significant damage had most likely occurred at the recent accident.
His report was prepared in readiness for court but upon reading the report, evidencing the likelihood of headaches and dizziness by that injury and that intervention would be required, ICBC chose to “settle out of court”.
Without involvement of a Dental Expert Witness the degree of injury sustained during the injury could not have been compared to that sustained during the previous accident, nor indeed that which may have been present prior to even that.
Equally so, the connection between the jaw injuries and her apparently unrelated symptoms would likely not have been made. There is a clear connection between jaw joint pain and dysfunction (temporomandibular dysfunction – TMD ), and Whiplash Type Injuries (WTI).
Without his report to assist in presenting the facts, the offer made by ICBC would likely have been lower, the case may have gone to court and Mrs. A’s symptoms may have not been identified as treatable.
Did Mrs. A’s claim benefit from the expert witness’s’s report?
The plaintiff’s lawyer believed so and has used that expert witness successfully on more than one occasion subsequently.
Author – Stephen Bray DDS