When whiplash occurs due to an automobile accident, you may experience jaw pain and limited movement that can easily be overlooked and undiagnosed. You may have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) injury that can have long-term consequences.
It’s best not to assume that the pain will resolve on its own. Getting a correct diagnosis and effective treatment for a TMJ injury is necessary but may be a challenge. It can take time and cost a bundle.
At Christensen Law, our experienced Michigan car accident lawyers will work to secure full and fair payout for your TMJ injury and other damages resulting from the wreck. Rest assured that we will fight vigorously so that your car accident claim accounts for all of your losses, both now and in the future.
Learn more in a free consultation by calling or contacting us today.
What Causes Jaw Pain After a Crash?
Jaw pain can begin if the head hits the dashboard, window, steering wheel or other stationary objects during a car accident. Some victims report that the trauma of an airbag suddenly inflating against the head or face spurs jaw pain, at times leading to a TMJ injury.
The TMJ is one of the most complex joints in the body. It links your jawbone to the base of your skull, sliding up and down and back and forth as needed. It’s also one of the most frequently used joints. The TMJ performs important functions that allow you to eat, drink, speak, smile, laugh, sing, yawn, play a wind instrument, and brush your teeth.
When the TMJ is injured, you can feel pain in the jaw, face, neck, ears, and shoulders. You can also suffer from debilitating headaches. It also happens if you witness an accident about to happen and instinctively clench your teeth.
What Is Whiplash-Induced TMJ?
Some car accidents result in whiplash, especially in rear-end collisions when the head suddenly lurches forward then reverts violently backward. About one-third of whiplash victims are at risk for a TMJ injury.
Even a crash at nine miles per hour can cause whiplash and a possible TMJ dislocation. The joint and soft tissues surrounding it are very vulnerable to trauma.
The discomfort and limited mobility of a TMJ injury can have far-reaching impacts. It can affect your work, activities of daily living, mouth hygiene, and mental health.
A TMJ injury is often missed, even when whiplash is correctly diagnosed. Sometimes symptoms do not surface until years later.
Can I Recover Damages from TMJ?
Diagnosis requires a doctor and possibly other medical professionals such as dentists, radiologists, ear, nose, and throat specialists, and various rehab experts in speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
Brace yourself if you expect to pay for all this evaluation and treatment on your own. The cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and any necessary surgery can add up. Fortunately, you have some options.
First, you can recoup your medical costs and lost wages from a temporomandibular joint injury through your Michigan no-fault insurance. But if you run into problems getting the coverage you need, you may also be able to sue for your TMJ injury. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you throughout the entire claims process and advise you of your options.