Image of Doctor looking at jaw X-Ray

Temporomandibular Joint Injury (TMJ)

This is an injury to the joint that controls your jaw.  It’s lies in between the muscles of your head near the temple and your cheeks.

How can this joint be injured in a car accident?

There is a disc that slides back-and-forth in this joint that is just in front of your ear. When that disc is moved from its natural alignment and location then the jaw becomes injured and does not close correctly.

The jaw is one of the most often used joints needed for speaking, eating, and drinking and can cause great discomfort and pain when injured. Along with headaches and lack of sleep, it generally requires treatment from either a skilled dentist, chiropractor, or physical therapist. Often a dental appliance has to be made to be worn in the mouth to restore proper spacing and alignment of the joint.

In extreme cases, surgery may be required.

How can a car accident cause this type of injury? The forces of the whipping motion back-and-forth or direct blunt force trauma on impact or any abrupt front to back or side to side motion can dislocate the disc of the TMJ joint creating a TMJ injury.

The joint must be realigned and the capsule allowed to go back into its natural location. This can often require therapy and time.

This injury can be visualized on an MRI of the TMJ joint. One joint on one side can be injured or both sides. It is very important to notice the injury and receive diagnosis and treatment promptly after the accident or insurance companies and/or juries may conclude that the injury is not related to the accident and cannot be included in the accident case.

How do you know if you have a TMJ injury?

You know because you experience headaches and pain in the temple area.

You will likely also be experiencing pain and discomfort when chewing, fatigue when chewing, and/or painful popping or clicking of the jaw. You may have pain when opening and closing the mouth and be unable to open your mouth completely.

Prompt treatment and diagnosis help you to receive symptom relief, document your injury for your legal case, and provide you with the best chance to recover quickly and fully from this injury.

It is important to hire an attorney with experience with this type of injury.

Barry L. Bellovin of the Bellovin Law Firm, PLLC has experience with this type of injury. He understands the treatment and diagnosis required to help you receive fair compensation for this particular injury in addition to the other injuries you received in your accident.

Please call Barry L. Bellovin at the Bellovin Law Firm PLLC for your free consultation now.

How Airbags Work and Causes of Deployment Failures

Airbags are not intended to deploy in all situations but rather in “more severe crashes.” A moderate to the severe accident is comparable to hitting a solid, immovable barrier at 8 to 14 mph or more or hitting a parked car of the same size at 16 to 28 mph. Front airbags often deploy in head-on collisions due to the high forces of these types of impact. Side airbags typically deploy in T-Bone collisions, rear-end collisions do not result in airbag deployment.

Airbag sensors register the range of force from the crash, and where the accident is mild to severe, an igniter releases a non-toxic gas that inflates the airbags. In these accidents, airbags usually deploy within milliseconds of the crash. Once airbags are deployed, you must replace them as soon as possible after a crash before driving your vehicle again.

Typically, some accidents do not trigger airbag deployment. However, there exist malfunctions where airbags deploy even in ‘small’ accidents or long after an accident, including in a slow-moving car. In such cases, deployment is likely to cause serious injuries. Failure to deploy or malfunctions during deployment can be due to several reasons, including:

  1. Defective sensors – Where a defect in an airbag sensor, including installation or design error, causes improper deployment, or deployment at the wrong time. Typically, airbag sensors record the force of impact before activating the airbags.
  2. Electrical malfunctions – With airbag sensors initiating or signaling airbag activation after an accident, an electrical defect can cause the signal not to go through. In such a case, airbags may fail to deploy or deploy too late.

Besides these malfunctions, a car occupant’s improper positioning, including sitting too close to an airbag, can severely injure them during deployment.

Common Airbag Deployment Injuries

Airbag injuries can range from mild to life-threatening, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head and neck soft tissue injuries
  • Concussions
  • Bone fractures, including arm, leg and facial bones
  • Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
  • Airbag burns, cuts and abrasions
  • Chest injuries
  • Lung irritation due to airbag deployment chemicals
  • Eye injury, including blindness (caused by the impact of the airbag)
  • Deafness

Recovering Damages in an Arizona Airbag Accident

There are instances where an airbag injury is not due to someone else’s negligence, including the other driver or the car manufacturer. However, when your injuries are due to another’s negligence, the law entitles you to compensation for your damages. Where an airbag deployment is not due to a malfunction, the at-fault driver may be liable for injuries caused by a deploying airbag in a car accident. Generally, when another driver is at fault for the traffic accident. They are also liable for, the injuries caused.

You can also recover damages from the car manufacturer when injuries are due to a defective or malfunctioning airbag. Since the manufacturer is supposed to be responsible for the safety of their product, you can file a product liability claim against them if an airbag design error, installation mistake, or any other malfunction caused your injuries.

Whether your claim is against the driver or the car manufacturer, you need to prove your case to recover compensation. It is advisable to seek the help of a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to help you navigate the often complex legal process and recover damages successfully. Some of the damages you can recover in an airbag injury claim include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and other expenses.

Contact an Arizona Airbag Injury Attorney

Airbags are meant to protect you from injuries during a car accident. However, they are not perfect and may injure or worsen your injuries in a car crash. These safety devices are often dangerous if they malfunction, including deploying at the wrong time. Your airbag injuries may be included with your case against the at-fault driver.

While Arizona law entitles you to compensation due to another’s negligence, navigating an airbag personal injury claim can be complicated. However, a skilled and experienced airbag injury lawyer can guide you through the legal process as they help you recover damages for your injuries. If you are in Arizona, contact Mr. Barry Bellovin at The Bellovin Law Firm PLLC, He has experience with airbag injuries and other personal injury cases and will help you obtain fair compensation as you focus on your recovery. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.

Get a Free Consultation

Contact us if you want a personal injury attorney who has demonstrated a history of success, who will personally communicate with you at all stages of your case, and will help you manage and settle your case so that you can heal and put your life back together.

Get in Contact Today!

Are we a good fit?

  • Did you suffer injuries in an accident that was caused by no fault of your own? – in other words, you are the injured party
  • Do you or the other party have any insurance coverage (such as auto insurance, home insurance, or business insurance)?
  • Did the injury cause hospitalization, medical treatment, surgery, or missed work?
  • Did the accident happen within the last 2 years?

If you answered YES to ALL of the questions, we may be a good match. Contact us for a free case evaluation. We will discuss your options, and answer your questions regarding your personal injury case. Attorney Barry Bellovin wants to determine, by listening to you, how to best protect your rights and minimize the impact of an injury caused by another’s carelessness on your day to day life thus giving you the ability to focus on getting well.

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