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The Role of Dentistry Expert Witnesses in Car Accident Cases

Dental x-ray showing damage from a car accident.

Many legal cases arise from serious injury-causing car accidents. Victims deserve significant compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain, but insurance companies make them fight for it. One of the more challenging car accident injuries to obtain compensation for are dental injuries. An effective way for an attorney to represent a client with crash-related dental injuries is to incorporate an expert witness' authority into their argument.

Attorneys need dentistry experts juries can trust

When it comes to professionals who can provide insights into the relationship between trauma and dental injuries, dentistry expert witnesses can be invaluable. However, to select the right expert for a case, it's important to understand their role in building a strong claim or lawsuit.

Dentistry expert witnesses add authority to a case

Dentistry experts leverage their years of training and experience to aid injured clients. They are typically dentists - doctors involved in studying, diagnosing, preventing, and treating diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area, and the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body.

Dentists are certified by the American Board of Dental Specialties (ABDS). They must earn a four-year Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree, depending on the phrasing of the university. Both degrees carry the same authority. This is followed by a one- or two-year residency program in their specialty. There are about a dozen recognized specialties in dentistry that may be able to support a strong case for car accident compensation, including:

  • Pediatric Dentist: Focuses on children's dental care.
  • Orthodontist: Corrects teeth and jaw alignment.
  • Periodontist: Treats gum diseases.
  • Endodontist: Specializes in root canal treatments.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: Performs oral surgeries.
  • Prosthodontist: Deals with dental prosthetics.
  • Oral Pathologist: Diagnoses oral diseases.
  • Oral Maxillofacial Radiologist: Interprets dental radiographs.
  • Oral Medicine Specialist: Manages oral health-related medical conditions.
  • Orofacial Pain Specialist: Treats chronic orofacial pain.

Case circumstances will determine which type of dentistry expert can best support an attorney's injury claim or lawsuit.

Dentistry expert guidance and testimony

Car accident-related dental injuries are frequently painful and can be debilitating, making it difficult to eat, drink, sleep, speak, drive, or work. It is important to select a dentistry expert with the experience and knowledge to provide the clear, thorough support and guidance necessary to get results. Dentists wield the authority to:

  • Diagnose the origins of dental injuries, including those resulting from blunt force trauma.
  • Testify to the magnitude and seriousness of injuries sustained.
  • Estimate future dental treatments and expenses.
  • Make a prognosis communicating the likely impact on a client's quality of life.
  • Explain intricate dental terms, jargon, or procedures to the jury.

Common types of dental injuries in accident cases

Car accident dental injuries are often severe and have the potential to evolve into lifelong damage. A dental expert can help explain the seriousness of a client's situation and articulate the real-world loss they may experience without proper compensation. Some of the most common types of dental trauma caused in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident include:

  • Tooth, jaw, or facial pain.
  • Took Luxation: Loosend teeth or teeth pushed sideways.
  • Fractured Teeth: Ellis I (crown fractures), Ellis II (fractured enamel and lower dentin layer), Ellis III (fractures involving enamel, dentin, and tooth pulp.
  • Avulsed Teeth: Teeth that have been knocked out of the socket.
  • Impaired jaw function.

Dental injuries due to car accident trauma can lead to enamel and root fractures, rot and decay, gum disease, and chronic pain. Not to mention the emotional and social consequences of tooth and jaw damage. Long-term complications include pulpal necrosis, root resorption, and pulpal obliteration. These and other serious injuries and consequences underscore the necessity of full car accident compensation for dental injuries.

We help attorneys find highly credible dental injury expert witnesses

In high-stakes injury and car accident cases, the credibility of a dentistry expert witness can be the difference between winning and losing. Since 1986, Rieback Medical-Legal Consultants, Inc. has delivered top-tier dentistry expertise to the legal community. If you are an attorney in need of expert guidance and testimony for a case, contact us today to learn more about how you can benefit from our network of experienced dentists and dental professionals.

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