1 March 2011
Q. What are the criteria for becoming an expert witness?
You may be aware that dentists may be instructed as experts in relation to two separate types of cases.
Most dentists commence carrying out expert work in personal injury cases where the claimant is often the victim of some type of accident. The expert is normally asked to examine the claimant and to provide a report on the claimant’s current condition and prognosis. In providing such a report the expert is expected to be able to advise the court on what injuries were specifically caused by the accident.
There are various courses which are available up and down the country to doctors and dentists who wish to provide such reports. You may be able to obtain details of these courses from the Law Society in London. Alternatively you may wish to “Google” courses in providing expert reports.
The other type of report which experts carry out, and which Dental Protection frequently commission, are reports on causation and liability. These are provided in cases of medical and dental negligence when the expert is asked to provide an opinion on whether they believe the clinician has acted in a way which would be considered acceptable by a reasonable body of similar clinicians, and if not what harm if any has flowed from the treatment in question. A number of courses are available up and down the country for those who may have an interest in this work.
Dental Protection has an advice booklet on providing expert reports and second opinions which is available here