HOW DO I GET HELP?
You need factual support.
If you’ve been hurt in or around your face, mouth, or neck and you feel that a form of compensation is due to you, you need someone to provide an impartial opinion to provide the facts to your case. Equally so, if you have been unable to resolve a dispute with your dentist who you believe is wrong and communication has broken down, you may need to take the matter further.
You do not want a “hired gun”
Your Lawyer (Legal counsel) will be on your side to fight your case, someone used to provide an expert opinion who is simply and obviously “on your side” will be seen to lack credibility, An Expert Witness has a responsibility to the court to be honest and impartial. It’s your lawyer’s job to fight your case using the valuable information supplied by the Expert witness, in representing you. It is often difficult to get another local dentist’s to do this due to conflict of interest or suspected opportunism.
You want someone empathetic yet non-partisan
You need professional, friendly, honest and cost-effective service to lay-out the relevant facts accurately and comprehensibly for your counsel and the court, in order to save time and money and make the job of your lawyer easier and their case stronger for you, this can be of enormous benefit to you and them. It’s a difficult time for you and you need empathy and understanding while the facts are gathered.
You need an accurate, easy to read report
The job of the Expert Witness is to highlight issues otherwise overlooked, and support them scientifically. These reports should be easy to read for the court’s benefits, as just like your lawyer, they do not have the expert skills required and need to be shown what has happened in order for them to assess the true facts and not just the supposition given by the other side. This way your lawyer can fight for a fair and equitable settlement in you favour.
You only get one chance
You and your lawyer have only one chance to claim and to obtain a fair and equitable compensation. Awareness of the facts is crucial in doing so, as you don’t get a second chance and if the lawyer doesn’t know about damage done in an area that he or she is not familiar with, your claim and compensation will decrease accordingly.
Plaintiff or defense
Dental Expert Witness Services provide facts and evidence in comprehensive, yet and comprehensible and understandable way. They must always be impartial, and an expert Witness may be retained by either side ( but not at the same time ) and assists, but doesn’t advocate – this is the lawyer’s domain.
Attending with a strong case.
The use of proof of fact, [be that in the form of written or verbal testimony, visual test results and/or scientific evidence] is mandatory in these days of limited claimant’s rights. The claimant needs alas to be well armed as the opposing council certainly will be.
If you feel that from an oral, dental, head, neck or jaw viewpoint there is more than has been discussed, ask your lawyer for his opinion of retaining an expert in this field to reveal and reinforce the facts of the case.
I’ve offered the services of an Independent Expert Witness in dental matters for some time now, includes clinical assessments, reports and attending court and hearings when necessary. I have a long and varied career and enjoyed working with other great dentists in many different locations and countries. I’ve spent a great deal of time on continuing professional education and that education, combined with skill and experience, balanced with honesty and common sense allows me to be a valuable asset to those finding themselves injured in this area.
British Columbia cut-backs
Alas in B.C. Canada especially, the B.C. Government and monopolized motor insurance (ICBC) have been accused of limiting a hurt party’s attempt at a fair and equitable settlement. While the legal profession’s power here continues to be reduced, this reflects a need to attend any hearing, well prepared. The judge and court need to have the facts.
Avoiding Court altogether
Most people don’t want to go to court (nor do I) however, if it’s necessary to see a fair and just result, so be it. On the other hand, a capable Expert Witness may be able to write a compelling case with evidence that the other side choses not to disagree with. If I can help the case settle early, I’m a happy man – it saves time, money and stress (including freeing up the courts to do other things).
Do lawyers know this?
Unfortunately in BC, many lawyers are not aware of expert witness services in dentistry, the ideal lawyer is the man or woman who ‘know what they don’t know’, not the ones who ‘don’t know what they don’t know’. An honest and frank discussion with them at the outset should put you at ease, if the lawyer doesn’t know about the value of an expert witness in your case and is disinterested, I would humbly recommend a second opinion, and I believe that any good lawyer who reads these words will agree – it’s just the same in dentistry!
Author – Stephen Bray DDS