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Role of Expert Witness in Dental Malpractice Cases

Dental malpractice cases often involve negligence. This factor is difficult to prove in a lawsuit without the use of an expert witness or other corroborating evidence to point to the defendant as responsible for the injury. With the help of a professional in the claim against the dentist, it is possible to show the judge or jury that the patient has an entitlement of compensation for the incident.

Dental injuries that occur through malpractice often include either a breach of the duty of care owed to the patient or negligence in some manner. Many of these claims need an expert witness to help prove negligence either in actions, lack of care or when equipment or processes are not as up to date or within the standards of the dental practice. Working in conjunction with the lawyer, the expert witness often increases the chances of the lawsuit succeeding or at least imparting awareness in the circumstances of the claim with the dentist, his or her practice or the factors contained within the incident.

Impact of Expert Witness Testimony

When an expert witness has the confidence and demeanor that represents a professional, the judge or jury may place more weight on his or her words. The impact of the testimony may also rely on the knowledge and experience
in the dental malpractice matter. If the professional works in or did work in the dental field previously or currently, he or she will know more about the processes and equipment used. This may provide a better understanding of what the victim would go through during an injury in negligence or a breach of the duty of care.

Role and Duties of Expert Witnesses

In cases where evidence exists that may prove negligence or a breach of care, the expert witness may need to use his or her background in the field of study to determine the causation, connection and responsibility. For medical and dental matter, these issues involve a duty of care through standards the doctor or dentist must follow. To hold him or her accountable, liability may exist that creates an opportunity for the victim of an injury to seek compensation. Then, the expert will need to show the causal link between the actions or factors of the dental visit, the dentist and the patient. These elements of the case progress the claim to the next step.

Another role the expert witness has in any case is to explain to the lawyer, judge or jury about the evidence and any connections between the defendant and the plaintiff. If the professional provides testimony, he may need to discuss and detail the problems that exist. If he or she creates a report, the details may provide a better awareness of the complications of negligence or a breach of duty. However, the injury itself is generally sufficient to seek a valid claim. Proving the negligent behavior is one of the primary tasks the expert needs to demonstrate to the courtroom.

Pursuing the Case and Liability

When an injured party brings a case to a lawyer, the expert witness hired for the case needs to prove that the responsibility lies with the defendant. This leads to evidence of negligence or a breach of the standards of care in place for patients. The professional that is able to remain a designated expert witness may create a report of the matter, or he or she may only test evidence and supply the lawyer and client with testimony in the courtroom. By using his or her background and knowledge of the dental world, the expert may help the judge or jury become aware of the connection between the injury and the fault of the defendant.

When the evidence is overwhelming, and it appears that success is a foregone conclusion, the defendant’s lawyer may seek to negotiate a deal. With the information and testimony of the expert witness, it is possible to reach this point of the case so that the results increase possible compensation for the plaintiff to ensure he or she may recover fully from the incident.

The Dental Malpractice Expert Witness’ Role

The primary role of an expert witness in a dental malpractice case is to reveal additional information or remove any confusion with evidence. By supporting the case of the lawyer for his or her client, the expert may further the claim to a successful conclusion in certain circumstances. This role is crucial in reaching the much-needed compensation.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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