The temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge between the jaw and the rest of the skull, can sometimes be injured in an auto accident. Perhaps this happened to you not long ago in Jackson, Tennessee. If so, you may have the grounds to file a claim against the other driver, provided that your degree of negligence does not surpass his or hers.
TMJ disorders and rear-end collisions
Oftentimes, the force that’s emitted in a rear-end collision and that causes whiplash may also contribute to a TMJ disorder by pushing the jaw open and placing pressure on the joints. In other scenarios, individuals may hit their jaw against the steering wheel or dashboard or have it struck by a deployed airbag.
Recognizing the symptoms of a TMJ injury
Jaw and face pain are the classic signs of a TMJ injury. In addition, victims may experience pain when chewing, biting and speaking. The side of the face with the affected TMJ may swell. A person may have continual earaches, become dizzy and even partially lose his or her hearing. The jaw may lock up occasionally and make grating or popping noises.
Having the disorder diagnosed and treated
A medical doctor or dentist can diagnose a TMJ disorder, though sometimes a person will require confirmation from an ear, nose and throat physician. Victims should be aware that some TMJ injury symptoms, such as neck and shoulder pain, can cause them to mistake their condition for whiplash.
Treatment options vary based on the severity of the injury. Victims may take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or undergo a therapy called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. They may wear a mouthguard or have orthodontic work done. If their pain persists, then they may elect to get surgery.
Legal representation for car crash victims
Before pursuing your personal injury case, you may want a lawyer to perform an evaluation and determine how much you could seek in compensatory damages. These damages could cover medical expenses, both past and future; lost income; and pain and suffering. You may ask to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf, too.