Dr Martin Dobson has acted as an expert witness for both claimants and defendants in relation to personal injury caused by hazardous trees since 1997. Although trees are generally safe structures they can sometimes fail leading to injury or death. On average in the UK there are six fatal accidents involving trees each year. The role of a tree expert witness is to forensically examine the remains of the tree to determine whether the risk of collapse was reasonably foreseeable prior to the incident and whether the tree owner had been negligent in failing to inspect or maintain the tree.
Martin has considerable experience in providing expert witness reports and gained his experience working in the Tree Pathology department of Forest Research (part of the Forestry Commission) and the Arboricultural Advisory and Information Service. He was lead examiner on pests and diseases of trees for the Professional Diploma in Arboriculture for eleven years.
A Monterrey cypress fell during stormy weather causing fatal injuries. Examination of the tree after the incident revealed that it had no obvious defects and therefore the owner could not reasonably have foreseen the risk of failure. There was therefore no negligence.