Can TMJ Be Caused By An Accident?

Yes. The Temporomandibular joint is also referred to as the TMJ. The TM joints in your jaw allow your jaw to open and close. The TMJ can be injured by other causes but trauma from an accident is a common cause of TMJ injury. Injury to the TMJ is usually called Temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder.

TMJ Injury with pain on the side of man's face

A TMJ injury can cause pain on the side of your face and cause pain and other areas such as your neck and headaches

TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or Disorder Symptoms

If you had an accident and are experiencing any of the following symptoms (you may experience one or more of these symptoms), call us immediately for a free consultation and we can help you obtain a diagnosis from a TMJ specialist:

  • Pain, tenderness, or a dull, aching of the jaw or side of your face or around your ear
  • Pain, difficulty, or discomfort when you chew, speak, or yawn
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Sore, stiff muscles around your jaws
  • Feeling as if the upper and lower teeth do not match together properly
  • Difficulty or pain while opening or closing the mouth
  • Limited ability to open your mouth normally
  • Locking of the jaw while either opening or closing
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing your mouth
  • Headaches (frequent)
  • Earache
  • Ringing in your ear (tinnitus)
  • Dizziness
  • Toothaches which are undiagnosed
  • Neck pain
  • Upper shoulder pain

What TMJ Injury Is And Treatment Options

When Your TMJ Injury Doesn’t Go Away Soon after an Accident

A TMJ injury is very serious because the two joints are connected and control matching the teeth in the upper jaw with the teeth and the lower jaw.  When the two joints are damaged or out of alignment, wear-and-tear is accelerated causing an increased intensity of the symptoms.  Imagine a car being out of alignment wearing out the tires.  If not corrected, the tires continue to wear until they are dangerous and unusable.

A TMJ injury can cause many symptoms, all of which are quite serious.  Just imagine going through a lifetime with these injuries and the knowledge that they will likely increase over time.  Even if a TMJ injury is corrected with surgery, traumatic arthritis will result and additional surgery may be required years later.

Neck Pain, Headaches, and Other Injuries May Be Misdiagnosed and May Be a TMJ Injury

When the TMJ is injured, symptoms are often misdiagnosed and are mistaken for other injuries. We have seen clients who came to us after being represented by other lawyers where the clients were treated over an extended period of time for neck pain by a neurologist.  We correctly suspected that the neck pain was actually a symptom of a TMJ injury that needed to be treated by an oral surgeon specializing in TMJ.

Early recognition of the symptoms and early diagnosis is crucial to prevent further much more serious injury. Even if properly diagnosed soon after an accident, a TMJ injury is still serious and may eventually need to be treated with arthroscopic surgery. However, if not diagnosed early, open joint surgery may become necessary.

How Much Is a TMJ Injury Worth?

Because a TMJ injury is serious, these are valuable injuries. Following are 3 examples of clients we represented for a TMJ injury:

$1.3 Million Verdict for Bilateral TMJ Surgery

Our client had bilateral arthroscopic TMJ surgery and subsequently underwent open joint surgery on one side, we turned down an offer of $200,000 and at trial, a Nassau County jury returned a verdict of $1.3 million which was reduced to $567,000.  The defense unsuccessfully tried to argue that the TMJ injury was caused by a lifetime of poor dental care.

$135,000 for Arthroscopic TMJ Surgery

Our client was represented for two years by another attorney. Her no-fault benefits were denied early on and she could not afford to get arthroscopic surgery. But her dentist who was treating her for her TMJ injury said she urgently needed arthroscopic surgery on one side to prevent the injury from getting worse.

Her attorney wrote numerous letters, without success, to the no-fault insurance company trying to get them to approve the surgery.

Her friend recommended that she call us. We were able to re-open her no-fault file and within two months we got the no-fault insurance company to approve the surgery. We then settled her case for $135,000.

$225,000 for Arthroscopic TMJ Surgery

Our client was injured in a car accident by a car that was insured for $250,000.  Our client underwent arthroscopic surgery and we settled the case for $225,000.