It’s not uncommon for a car crash victim in Alabama to injure their temporomandibular joint. The TMJ refers to the joints that connect the jawbone to the rest of the skull. Injuring these can lead to serious difficulties talking, eating and yawning.

How TMJ injuries can arise

Oftentimes, the TMJ is affected in a rear-end collision, where the same forces that can cause whiplash will force the jaw open and put immense, harmful pressure on the hinges. Other times, crash victims may develop a TMJ disorder through blunt trauma, such as when the jaw hits the steering wheel, or when it’s struck by a deployed airbag.

The effect of a TMJ disorder

Usually, a TMJ injury will make itself known when victims find it hard to open their mouth wide without pain. The side of the face that’s affected may hurt and swell. The pain may extend to the neck and shoulders, too, which is important to note because this can confuse some people into thinking they suffered whiplash. Other symptoms include:

• A locked-up jaw
• Popping or grating noises in the jaw
• Earaches and hearing loss

Treatments vary depending on the severity of the disorder. One may recover by using mouthguards or having a heat and ice treatment done, for instance, while others may need to undergo surgery.

For those injured by a negligent driver

You may have incurred an injury to your jaw and elsewhere because of a driver’s negligent actions. Speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving are just a few examples of negligence. In such cases, you may want a lawyer who deals in motor vehicle crashes to perform an assessment. If your case holds up under this state’s negligence laws, you may have a good chance of recovering damages. The lawyer may tackle all negotiations.