Why do you need an expert witness?
If 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, or their company’s agendas.
Car or bike accident
Trip and fall or work related accident
Whiplash type injury
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.
Your lawyer is an expert in the law, but obviously can’t be so in dentistry too so your lawyer will need an expert to aid him in this area. This is where the Dental Expert Witness’ role becomes invaluable, without him or her, your lawyer will not be aware of the full extent of your injury.
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. It can have a significantly beneficial effect on a case.
One problem is that here in Canada expert witnesses are not freely available and therefore not called upon and therefore hundreds, possibly thousands of injured parties do not get fair compensation because their legal counsel simply don’t realize that this resource is available and can be used to their client’s benefit.
With honesty and a good command of the facts an expert witness can turn a case and increase the settlement value.
In dentistry that opinion may be about a dental or oral injury su, dental work or a 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.
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.
Expert Witness testimony can relate to alleged negligence or malpractice through errors or omissions in professional dental care when compensation, recompense or restitution is sought..
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 and lectured in the US in this capacity.
Author – Stephen Bray DDS