When we think of a jaw injury compensation claims most of us will think of a broken jaw as a consequence of perhaps violent activity or an accident. There are actually a lot more other jaw injuries which occur regularly such as damage to the lower and upper jaw bones, ligament and tendon damage and also issues with teeth and gums that may be as a consequence of negligence. While many jaw injury compensation claims will fall under the category of dental claims it does not necessarily have to be damage/ injury caused by a dentist.
We will now take a look at the most common jaw injuries, how they occur, how to make a jaw injury compensation claim and what you might expect at the end of a successful prosecution.
Common Types Of Jaw Injury
Before we look at the individual types of jaw injury commonplace in the UK it is worth noting that jaw damage can have a long-term impact upon a person’s health, both physical and mental. Side effects can include limited mouth movement, issues when chewing and brushing teeth not to mention facial problems such as numbness and disfigurement. The most common jaw injuries in personal injury claims include:
- Dislocated jaw.
- Broken jaw.
- Fractured jaw.
- Nerve damage.
- Issues with muscles, tendons and ligaments.
- Cancer of the jaw.
- Temporomandibular disorder which directly impacts the mouth chewing muscles.
It is only when you see the different types of jaw injury that you realise it is more than just a dislocated jaw, broken jaw or damage to the teeth. If an injury brought on by a negligent third party causes you discomfort as a consequence of any of the above issues then you may well have grounds for a jaw injury claim.
Most Common Causes Of Jaw Injuries
While the vast majority of jaw injuries come under the umbrella of “facial trauma” there are many other instances of jaw injury. Common causes of jaw injury seen in personal injury claims are:
- Sporting accidents.
- Violence including criminal assault.
- Road traffic accidents.
- Dental implants.
Making A Jaw Injury Compensation Claim
By far and away the most common type of jaw injury compensation claim is for a broken jaw. There are obviously many ways in which your jaw can be damaged and in order to make a compensation claim the incident must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Act of violence.
- Medical or dental negligence.
- Injured as a consequence of third-party negligence.
Even though some jaw injury claims can be difficult to back up with cold hard evidence, jaw injuries are very often self-evident so it is only a matter of proving negligence or criminal violence. It is worth noting that while the bulk of jaw damage claims revolve around a broken jaw, as we touched on above, nerve and tendon damage are also valid reasons for pursuing a claim.
In many cases a broken jaw can be easier to reset than repairing nerve and tendon damage which can have a permanent impact upon an individual’s way of life. We can only imagine the number of people who dismiss nerve/ tendon damage as “a minimal injury” when indeed more serious issues could emerge further down the line.
Building Your Personal Injury Claim
As with any personal injury claim it will come down to the evidence gathered by the claimant’s solicitor and the way it is presented in court (assuming it gets to court). In the vast majority of cases the jaw injury will be obvious although medical opinion will be required to clarify any potential long-term issues.
Where there is an underlying illness which may cloud the water it will need to be proven that the injury actually arose because of negligence or violence and not as a consequence of any previous condition. This particular aspect is perhaps less relevant for a straightforward broken jaw or dental damage as a result of an obvious accident or violence. However, the merits of any claim for an injury to the jaw will need to be backed up by supporting evidence.
Jaw Injury Compensation Levels
The rigid structure of the personal injury claims sector is relevant to all actions and any jaw injury compensation would be considered in light of two different types of damages. The first type of damages is referred to as “general damages” and while each case will be considered on its own merits the Judicial College issues regular guidelines with regards to recommended minimum/ maximum compensation awards.
For example, where negligence has been proven in relation to a fractured jaw injury that has left permanent consequences the range of compensation awarded tends to be in the region of £23,000 up to £34,000. The greater the impact on the claimant’s long-term lifestyle the larger the compensation award. Issues such as joint arthritis, limited mouth movement and difficulty eating are just three of the more common issues taken into account.
The second type of damages is referred to as “special damages” and is traditionally more straightforward to calculate. This includes actual and expected future medical bills, loss of earnings and any other additional expenses/ losses incurred as consequence of the injury to the jaw. It is fairly easy to prove the case for “special damages” and in theory this area is not as flexible as that of “general damages”.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Unfortunately in many cases of criminal violence the assailant will often go to ground and may never be identified let alone brought to trial. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is an agency started by the UK government to compensate the victims in violent crimes. The burden of proof for a claim to the CICA is less than that expected in a court room and victims may make a compensation claim even if the assailant is not convicted, prosecuted or even identified. Where you are an innocent victim of violent crime it is worth discussing the CICA with your appointed personal injury solicitor.
More information on criminal injury claims involving CICA can be found on this page.
Start A Jaw Injury Compensation Claim Today
If you believe that you may have a valid case for a jaw injury compensation claim the first port of call is to talk with a personal injury solicitor. We advise you do this as soon as you can as there is a 3 year time limit to make a jaw injury claim and leaving it too late might lessen the chances of a strong claim even being taken on. Also the fresher the incident is in your mind the more detail you’ll be able to provide the solicitor.
If you contact our solicitors they will review your situation free of charge and then advise you if they think you have a jaw injury compensation claim and explain the process going forward.