Your Rights If You Hurt Your Jaw in an Accident
Jaw pain or discomfort may be a symptom of a severe injury
Jaw pain can cause a lot of suffering and make life difficult. When someone else’s negligent actions result in a jaw injury, the victim may not know their legal rights or understand the process of pursuing a personal injury claim.
In such challenging times, seeking the guidance of an experienced Houston, TX, personal injury lawyer is crucial. If you've suffered a jaw injury due to someone else's negligence, it’s in your interest to consult with a personal injury attorney who can explain your potential legal options.
Understanding the different types of jaw pain
Jaw pain can manifest in many different ways after an accident or incident linked to negligence. The most common types of jaw pain include:
- TMJ pain: Jaw pain is often caused by damage to the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. You might have jaw clicking, trouble opening or closing your mouth, and pain in your jaw, face, neck, or ears.
- Jaw fractures: Direct trauma to the jawbone can result in a fracture. You might have trouble speaking and eating, or your face could swell up and hurt.
- Whiplash-related jaw pain: Whiplash can cause jaw pain when your head moves back and forth, putting pressure on your jaw muscles and ligaments. This can lead to jaw pain, as well as neck and shoulder discomfort.
- Neuropathic pain: Neuropathic jaw pain is often associated with nerve damage or irritation. A traumatic injury to the face or jaw can damage nerves and lead to neuropathic pain.
Common causes of injuries to the jaw
The most common cause of jaw injuries involving negligence include:
- Direct trauma: Sudden impact can lead to direct trauma to the jaw. This can result in fractures, dislocations, or soft tissue injuries.
- Whiplash: The rapid acceleration and deceleration of a car accident, sports injury, or other incident can cause the head to move violently. This often places stress on the jaw muscles and ligaments.
- Airbag deployment: While airbags are designed to save lives, their deployment can exert significant force on the jaw and face during a car accident.
- Secondary injuries: In some cases, jaw pain can be a secondary effect of other injuries. For example, it may accompany head injuries or cervical spine damage.
Accidents that can result in jaw pain
In many cases, the negligent actions of others can lead to jaw injuries:
- Car accidents: Crash-related jaw injuries are often linked to whiplash and head injuries. However, they also occur when a vehicle occupant hits their face on the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield during a collision. Side-impact crashes and rollovers also often result in jaw injuries.
- Slip and falls: Slip and falls can happen when property or business owners fail to maintain a safe environment. These types of accidents typically happen on wet floors, uneven surfaces, or cluttered walking areas. They also happen when property owners fail to place adequate warning signs or barriers around hazardous areas.
- Workplace accidents: Jaw injuries on the job can happen in various ways. The most common causes include being struck by objects or tools, accidents with heavy machinery, and failure of employers to provide adequate protective equipment.
- Negligent security: Negligent security often leads to physical violence. Property owners or businesses who don’t provide adequate security measures can be held liable for injuries resulting from assaults on their premises.
Diagnosing and treating jaw pain
If you notice any pain or discomfort in the jaw after an accident or incident, see a doctor right away. A doctor can perform a complete exam and symptom assessment to determine the severity of your jaw injury. This may include imaging studies (X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs), a dental evaluation, and possibly a neurological assessment.
The appropriate treatment will depend on the specific diagnosis and will likely involve the following:
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications for pain and inflammation.
- Resting the jaw and applying ice to reduce swelling and pain.
- Physical therapy to strengthen jaw muscles and improve mobility.
- Orthodontic dental procedures to realign the jaw.
- In severe cases, surgery to fix fractures or dislocations.
Getting legal help after sustaining an injured jaw
If someone else’s negligence resulted in your jaw injury, you have the right to take legal action against the at-fault party. A jaw injury can be expensive to treat. Moreover, it can impact the quality of your life and lead to pain and suffering. If your jaw injury impacts your ability to work, you may be unable to earn a living.
Victims of negligence have the right to recover their losses through a personal injury claim. However, pursuing a successful claim often proves to be difficult. Nevertheless, there are four crucial steps injury victims can take to put themselves in a position to make a full financial recovery:
- Document the accident or incident: No matter what type of incident caused the injury, it’s critical that you document it. Gather as much evidence as possible, including photos, contact information for witnesses, police reports, and video footage (if available).
- Seek prompt medical treatment: Ensure you receive proper medical care for your jaw injury. This not only aids in your recovery but also serves as crucial evidence in your case.
- Follow your doctor's recommendations: Be sure to attend all appointments and follow all medical recommendations. That includes activity modification and taking medications as directed.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer: Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to handle claims involving negligence. An attorney can determine liability, guide you through the legal process, and recover damages on your behalf.
Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston, TX
The attorneys at Smith & Hassler understand the impact jaw pain can have on victims’ lives. We fight to hold negligent parties accountable and deal with the insurance companies so our clients can focus on recovering. To learn how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us for a free consultation.
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