Recovering a personal injury settlement that involves a jaw or dental injury can be tough. Car insurance companies often insist that you were not hurt or your injury was pre-existing. The following legal guide applies in the State of Georgia and may be helpful with your injury claim.
- Car and truck accidents are known to cause dental, tooth and jaw injuries that range from minor to severe.
- Insurance companies may try to fight your dental repair claims, saying they are pre-existing, caused by eating or are just “cosmetic.”
- If your mouth injury was caused by a negligent driver, the at-fault driver and their automobile insurer is still required to compensate you for your dental claim.
- See a doctor or dentist immediately after your car accident so that your medical records show the injury came from the crash and not from biting into a foreign substance or by accident, such as falling down or fighting.
How to Prove Jaw and Dental Injuries Due to Car Accidents
Dental injuries caused by car accidents can range from a broken jaw to cracked teeth, crowns or implants. But you can expect insurance adjusters to blame everything but the car accident. It is common for adjusters to claim that your teeth were already in poor condition or to claim the injury was pre-existing.
If your mouth or jaw has been injured in a collision, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon after your accident as possible. A dentist or medical practitioner can provide the necessary treatment for your injuries, and can document the immediate cause of your condition. You and your lawyer will need this important documentation for your personal injury claim.
How Car Accidents Cause Mouth, Tooth and Jaw Injuries
A car accident produces extreme forces that can impact nearly any part of the body. The unprotected head and face are especially vulnerable to damage.
Not only can these violent movements cause injuries like whiplash, but they can also cause severe damage to the jaw and mouth if the face collides with other objects in the car, such as the steering wheel, the airbag, or the window frame.
Who is Responsible to Pay for Dental or Medical Care After A Crash?
In most cases, you are responsible for getting and finding a way to pay for your medical and dental care after a car accident. However, you are entitled to be reimbursed for that cost by the at-fault driver and their motor vehicle insurance company.
Unfortunately, unless you have dental insurance, you may have to pay for the care out of your pocket or find another source of payment. Some insurance plans will cover things like jaw injuries, but may not cover the cost of crowns, bridges or implants. Many personal injury lawyers have relationships with medical and dental finance companies that might be able to advance the cost of care, to be reimbursed when your case settles.
Can You Recover Settlement Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Jaw or Mouth Injury?
Yes, you can receive compensation for your injuries, including pain and suffering. You are legally entitled to make a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can do so on your own, or with the services of a law firm specializing in personal injury law.
Common dental-related injuries caused by a car accident
A forceful blow to the mouth can cause chipped or fractured teeth, as well as other serious oral injuries. A blow to the mouth that causes a cracked, loosened, or lost tooth should be treated promptly as a dental emergency by a dentist.
If not treated or monitored properly, a cracked tooth can develop into a serious problem. Any pressure on the tooth from eating or chewing can cause the crack to grow, worsening the pain and reducing the likelihood that the tooth can ultimately be saved.
Jaw fractures, damage and injuries suffered in car and truck crashes
Jaw fractures or dislocations from car accidents are not uncommon, particularly among those who suffer from traumatic head or facial injuries. Victims are also at a higher risk of developing temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), a form of jaw impairment.
Because certain parts of the ear are located adjacent to the jaw, earache and vertigo are also common symptoms associated with dental or jaw trauma after a car crash.
When a tooth becomes completely dislodged from the gums, or gingiva, it is called an avulsed tooth.
Whether the tooth can be saved for re-implantation depends on how much time passes between the accident and treatment. If the lost tooth cannot be used, prosthetic tooth implantation may be required as well as a root canal.
A known cause of teeth avulsions is trauma or blunt impact to the lower part of the face.
A break or crack in the tooth that extends into the root is called a root fracture. If the crack extends into the pulp of the tooth, the tooth may be saved by a root canal procedure, followed by a crown installation to keep the crack from growing. However, an injury in which the crack extends beneath the gum line may mean the tooth is untreatable and requires extraction.
Can a Car Accident Settlement Cover Dental or Oral Surgery Bills?
In Georgia, the law provides victims the opportunity to be compensated for damages after an accident. If you’ve been hurt by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may include those damages – even dental injuries – in your claim.
Unfortunately, insurance companies make money by not paying everything that is due. Therefore, the insurer will likely attempt to avoid paying for damages however they can.
For example, the insurer may try to claim that your front tooth was damaged prior to the accident or the result of a previous or later blow to the head. It’s up to you to demonstrate that the injury is a direct result of the accident in question. This is part of the reason why seeking medical treatment quickly is essential, as your doctor will be able to provide necessary documentation regarding your injuries and the timeline of events.
Insurance representatives may also tell the injured party that the insurance policy does not pay for “cosmetic procedures” like dental restoration. While that may be true in the case of purely elective surgeries in relation to health insurance policies, in a Georgia accident, the insurance company has an obligation to restore you to your condition before the accident. If your front tooth was in place before the crash occurred, then you can claim and collect as long as you can prove your injury was due to the accident.
A Lawyer Can Help You Receive Compensation for Dental Injuries
Insurance companies often seen to avoid payouts that include expenses for dental injuries. If you are having trouble getting an automobile insurance adjuster to consider your jaw, mouth or dental injury claim, before you settle your accident case, you owe it to yourself to speak to a personal injury specialist.
At The Millar Law Firm, we have been winning battles with insurance company lawyers for decades. We offer a free consultation to help you succeed in receiving a full and fair compensation package. Call The Millar Law Firm today and to discuss your claim immediately with one of our caring and friendly attorneys.
I would highly recommend this firm and staff to everyone, they were great with my case.