As an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney who has investigated and litigated significant cases of injuries to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), resulting from car accident traumas over the last thirty years, I think that TMJ is a serious complication or injury that too often goes underdiagnosed and is suffered by many car accident victims. A few decades ago, TMJ was regularly claimed by many victims of car accidents almost to the point that the diagnosis was being suspiciously viewed and evaluated by insurance companies. Many dentists had a cottage industry evaluating TMJ cases after car accidents involving whiplash injuries, and I too became suspicious.
I recently had the occasion to resolve a car accident case in an amount in excess of $1.5 million dollars where a significant TMJ injury was sustained by my client who suffered a significant trauma to the area of her jaw as a result of collision forces. The mechanics of a TMJ injury reveal that when the head whips forward in a violent fashion as the result of an impact, the joints of the jaw are dislodged forward and pulled out of the jaw socket. Jaw movement is controlled by a complex balance of many muscles which allow the mouth to open and close when talking, chewing, yawning, singing, or shouting. It may not be weeks or months until after the accident that the client or patient notes that they have excruciating headaches, painful neck movements, ringing in the ears, jaw pain, dizziness, balance problems, unusual and unexplained fatigue, pain in the teeth, popping of the jaw, inability to open the mouth widely or difficulty closing the mouth.
Many times normal medical providers do not recognize TMJ and are unable to provide a conclusive diagnosis. Many insurance companies still view TMJ with suspicion due to a lack of understanding. However, there exist many skilled dental practitioners who understand that if improperly treated, surgical recourse may become necessary, and if left untreated, the patient may not fully recover due to unrecognized damage to the jaw joints and jaw muscles. Many times conservative physical therapy can resolve TMJ and the involvement of a TMJ specialist can be highly instrumental in maximizing the value of a car accident claim.
If you or a loved one has suffered a TMJ injury due to a car accident, please contact one of our skilled Philadelphia car accident attorneys for a free, no obligation consultation. For more information, contact us toll free or online at www.reiffandbily.com.