Jaw Fracture Lawyer
A mandibular fracture involves an injury to the jawbone. While it is considered a common type of facial fracture, more cases are reported of those involving the cheekbone and nose. This type of bone fracture is often the result of trauma or direct force to the mandible. Common causes may include workplace accidents, slip and falls, sports-related injuries, and motor vehicle collisions. Any patient presenting with a mandible fracture should be evaluated for accompanying injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and trauma to the cervical spine.
One of the top causes of mandibular fractures is auto accidents. If you have suffered a broken jaw in a crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Receive free, friendly case advice by calling our experienced personal injury attorneys in Sacramento at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.
Our personal injury law firm has represented people who have suffered traumatic injuries, such as mandibular fractures, in all types of accident cases. We are here anytime to speak with you, answer any questions you may have about the legal process, and determine your best course of action moving forward. We proudly serve clients under a contingency fee arrangement, meaning there are no fees due unless we recover fair compensation for you through a jury verdict or an insurance settlement.Epidemiology of Jaw Fractures
Males are more likely to suffer a jaw fracture than their female counterparts, with approximately three times of reported cases and most occurring in their thirties.
Broken jaws are uncommon in adolescents ages six and under. This is partly due to the frontal bossing, or prominent appearance of the forehead, in comparison with the chin. When this type of fracture occurs in children, they are usually greenstick fractures.What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Jaw Injury?
The symptoms of a mandibular fracture may include:
- Abnormal appearance or lump of the jaw or cheek
- Broken or loosened teeth
- Difficulty opening the jaw
- Ear pain
- Infection of the face or jaw
- Issues with teeth alignment
- Numbness in the lower lip
- Pain that may worsen with opening or closing the mouth, talking, or swallowing
- Swelling in the lower face and heavy intraoral bleeding at the time of the traumatic injury
Following are some of the signs of a dislocated jaw:
- Bites that feel crooked
- Difficulty talking
- Drooling from being unable to close the mouth
- Issues with closing the mouth
- A jaw that protrudes forward or one that has locked up
- Pain in the jaw or face that may worsen with movement
- Teeth that do not align properly
A dislocated or broken jaw requires immediate medical care. Emergency symptoms of a jaw injury may include profuse bleeding or difficulty breathing.How is a Mandibular Fracture Diagnosed?
Radiographic imaging studies are often necessary for the diagnosis of a jaw fracture. This may include computed tomography (CT) scan, dental panoramic view (panorex), mandibular series with Towne, bilateral oblique, and anteroposterior views.What are the Types of Jaw Fractures?
Classification of fractures will correlate with clinical and anatomic nomenclature. The most common fracture types are multifocal with 60 percent of all mandibular fracture cases, followed by unifocal with 40 percent, closed (simple) with 25 percent, comminuted with 10 percent, and related to condylar subluxation with 5 percent.
A break with tooth socket, gingival, or mucosal disruption is generally considered an open fracture. A patient presenting with an open mandibular fracture should receive antibiotics to protect against oral cavity organisms, such as anaerobes. Case studies have suggested that perioperative antibiotics have been effective in decreasing wound infection rates.
Depending on the type and location of the mandibular fracture, a treating physician may use various closed and open surgical reduction techniques. Unique considerations may apply to atrophic and pediatric mandibles.How is a Mandibular Fracture Treated?
A patient presenting with a broken jaw may have an accompanying injury. Therefore, initial treatment should also consider immediate and life-threatening injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, cervical spine injuries, major hemorrhage, and airway obstruction.
Surgical airway may be necessary if oral intubation cannot be performed. If an anterior skull base, nasal, or midface fracture is suspected, nasotracheal intubation is not performed. A patient with a jaw fracture should observe precautions specifically for the cervical spine until cleared.
The main goal in mandibular fracture management is to restore facial form and functional occlusion. Several techniques may be used in the effective management of a broken jaw case. This may include either open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) with lag screws, interosseous wiring, and plates, and screws or closed reduction and internal fixation (CRIF) with a modified diet, splinting, or maxillomandibular fixation (MMF) when dentition is sufficient, and the break is isolated.Mandible Trauma Management
The top goal of medical care is to for a patient to return to their pre-injury health status. A mandibular fracture that is nondisplaced and does not exhibit any changes in dental occlusion may be subject to nonsurgical management. However, most dental injury cases will require stabilization to reestablish pre-injury dental occlusion and optimal primary or secondary bone healing.
Treatment strategies will be based upon the location of the break, and the preferences set out by the surgeon. The decision the treating surgeon will ultimately make will be influenced by patient history and fracture characterization.Can a Broken Jaw Result from a Car Accident?
Those who have suffered a jaw fracture in a motor vehicle collision should seek immediate medical care. After treatment has been sought, it is essential to discuss the case with an experienced injury lawyer.
An attorney may review the facts and circumstances of the bone fracture case and determine whether the injured party has grounds to bring a bodily injury claim. Through this type of case, claimants may hold the other party and their insurance company liable for damages incurred.Can You Seek Compensation for a Broken Jaw?
The injury, or unsuccessful healing of a fractured jaw, may occur due to a car accident or medical malpractice. Compensation available in a claim for damages will depend on the extent of losses resulting from dental trauma. There are two types of damages: economic and non-economic. They may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and loss of future earnings
- Loss of consortium for damage to a marital relationship
- Diminished quality of life suffered because of a dental injury
- Pain and suffering for long-term physical pain and emotional distress
- Facial scarring and disfigurement from an injury to the upper or lower jaw
Various factors may play a significant role in determining a settlement amount in a personal injury claim. These may include the injured party’s age, gender, marital status, permanency of the scar, location of the scarring, and severity of the trauma. For more information on the factors involved in the claims process, watch this video.Scarring and Disfigurement from a Broken Jaw
Facial fractures, like those affecting the jaw, may occur due to many types of accidents, including traffic collisions. When this type of injury results in scarring, surgical intervention may not always be successful in removing or improving the scar. Conversely, when an injured party has scarring in a visible area of the body like the face, it may considerably impact their life.
Whether an insurance company will compensate a claimant for a jaw fracture with accompanying facial scarring will depend on the language of the policy contract and the extent of the facial scar. Insurers will often cover such claims if it has caused a significant alteration of the injured party’s appearance. In other situations, it may be challenging to work with an insurance carrier in establishing that a cosmetic procedure is reasonable and necessary for facial scarring revision. This is one of the many reasons why it is crucial to retain legal counsel as soon as possible after a traumatic injury such as a mandibular fracture.
An accident attorney may retain a vocational rehabilitation expert to evaluate and determine the loss of future earnings that may be expected from facial scarring because of a mandibular fracture. It is challenging to value a settlement for a personal injury claim as there are unique facts and circumstances involved in each case. Therefore, it is essential to reach out to an experienced attorney to discuss your case and the best course of action moving forward.Is There a Filing Deadline for Personal Injury Claims in California?
Civil cases must be filed within a specific period. Failure to file in civil court within the statute of limitations may result in case dismissal and the loss of the right to seek financial compensation.
- Personal Injury: Under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, an injured party has two years from the accident date to file a suit.
- Government Entity: Claimants have 180 days or six months from the incident date to file a notice of claim first with the appropriate public agency, as outlined in the California Government Code Section 911.2.
- Medical Malpractice: A lawsuit must be filed no later than one year after the injured party has discovered the injury or three years after the date of the injury from medical malpractice, whichever occurs first. This is by the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.5.
Special rules may apply to cases involving minors. The statute of limitations is generally tolled until they have reached 18 years of age.Contact a Jaw Fracture Attorney Today
A mandibular fracture is painful and may result in mounting medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. When you have suffered this type of injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need the best attorney on your side. At our law firm, we have the experience, skills, and resources to ensure you are fairly compensated by the at-fault party and the insurance company. To learn more, call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to receive free, friendly case advice.
Photograph Source: By "Cedric Fauntleroy" via Pexels
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