Being in a car accident can be very traumatizing, and if you’ve ever been in an accident before, you know how easily injuries occur. Common injuries from car accidents are normally located in the head and neck, spinal, back, and facial areas of the victim. Common facial injuries include dental damage, cuts and bruises, and even temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, injuries.
What are TMJ’s?
TMJ’s are the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull. This connection plays an important role in allowing you to eat, speak, and even make facial expressions, and are extremely complex in their make up and structure, making them a difficult injury to treat should they be damaged as a result of an accident.
How It Occurs After A Car Accident
The common causes of TMJ after a car accident is whiplash, as the soft tissues of the temporomandibular joints are not meant to withstand extreme forces. Even if you don’t directly hit your jaw, it’s possible to suffer damage to those joints. In a similar fashion to other whiplash injuries, TMJ can take a long time to actually present after an accident.
Typical Treatment Options
Thankfully, surgery is a last resort to treat TMJ after a car accident. In fact, there are several non-evasive therapies your orthodontist, like an orthodontist in San Clemente, may choose to prescribe to help alleviate your TMJ symptoms. Massage, ice application directly following the injury to mitigate inflammation, heat application well after the initial injury to help blood circulation to the afflicted area, mouth guards, and orthodontics treatments should the teeth become unaligned as a result of the TMJ injury are all common treatments.
Controversy Surrounding TMJ And Car Accidents
Unfortunately, there are skeptics out there who don’t believe that TMJ after a car accident is possible. Instead, they feel that it’s merely an opportunity taken on the part of attorneys to obtain more compensation for their clients. However, in just as head, back and neck injuries are common and widely accepted injuries as a result of impacts at velocity, so should TMJ be considered a common and equally traumatizing injury.
Permanent vs. Temporary Injuries And The Courts
If you plan to hire a lawyer because of your TMJ after a car accident, you’ll need to have evidence to bolster your claim. Your lawyer will not only need to prove that the other person caused the accident which left you with injuries, but he or she will also need to outline the extent of your injuries — commonly done through dental and medical records.
The Courts will base how much they’ll award to a plaintiff on who was at fault and how significant were the damages to the victim in the case. Then there’s determining whether or not your TMJ is permanent or temporary. A temporary injury will not result in as high of a settlement as a permanent injury will.
Why You Need An Attorney
Since TMJ after a car accident isn’t as well known as head, back or neck injuries, it’s not an easy claim to make and win. As a result, TMJ claims are routinely ignored by insurance companies. Usually, unless there’s proven direct impact to your jaw, which results in a break or other trauma, you can expect the insurance company to deny your claim.
Attorneys well versed in TMJ claims can help you fight this uphill battle. Just because you’ve suffered a less known injury, you should not be disqualified from getting the compensation you deserve.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into TMJ.