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TMJ & Facial Injuries in Car Accidents in Oregon

One of the most upsetting and difficult injuries from a car accident is damage to your face. Car accidents can cause many major injuries to the face that can lead to disfigurement. If you suffered a facial injury in a car accident caused by another driver, you should call The Herron Law Firm immediately. Our attorneys will negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.


A facial injury is a serious car accident injury that can cause both physical and psychological harm. Wounds that are clearly visible on the face can make it hard for the car accident victim to go out in public and talk to others. Some facial injury victims may face scarring for life.

Types of Facial Injuries in Car Accidents


No matter where you are seated in the car, you are susceptible to having a facial injury during an auto accident.

In 2009, a doctor in Wisconsin studied car accident injuries from 1993 to 2004. The study showed that 167,000 vehicle occupants had a facial fracture, and a majority had nasal, occipital, and cheekbone fractures.

TMJ Injuries After Auto Accidents

A TMJ injury in a car accident is damage to the temporomandibular joints, which are of the side of your skull when the jaw is attached.

TMJ is often a debilitating injury that can cause chronic pain in your jaw, face, neck, and shoulders. People who have a TMJ injury from a car accident may experience earaches, headaches, and even hearing loss.

If you suffer an injury to the TMJ, it can affect your entire face because the joints work with the ligaments and muscles. While pain can be temporary for some accident victims, it can last for many years for others.

How Car Crashes Cause TMJ

TMJ may result from a rear-end crash and whiplash injuries. When your car is hit from behind, the crash forces can cause your head to shoot forward and backward. When this occurs, the crash forces can force your jaw open and lead to tremendous pressure on the jaw joints.

Some accident victims may suffer TMJ when they hit their jaw on the steering wheel or dashboard. The deployment of your airbag also can cause a TMJ injury.

Common symptoms of a TMJ injury are:
  • Difficulty opening the mouth or severe pain when trying to do so
  • Pain in your face, neck or shoulders when you speak or open your mouth
  • Trouble biting or chewing
  • Grating or popping noises in your jaw
  • Dizziness, earaches, or hearing loss
  • Lockjaw
  • Swelling on the side of your face

After a car crash, you may not notice your TMJ symptoms. The pain you feel in your shoulders and neck might be attributed to whiplash, and you may not know you have a TMP injury until your whiplash injury heals.

TMJ Diagnosis

This injury can be diagnosed by a doctor or dentist. You doctor may consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist to confirm the diagnosis. Some accident victims may start with seeing their dentist because of jaw pain, not realizing it is a TMJ injury. Your dentist may evaluate for reduced range of motion, joint misalignment or pain. Tests to diagnose this condition include X-rays, MRIs, and physical examinations.

TMJ Treatments

There are several treatments available for TMJ that your doctor can recommend, depending how severe the injury is. Your doctor might prescribe transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, a mouthguard, orthodontia, face and jaw massage, stress management, and applying heat or ice.

A TMJ injury from a car accident can be severely debilitating. Having difficulty opening your mouth can make it hard to communicate, eat, and much more. If your injury was caused by another party, you should talk to The Herron Law Firm today about your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.


Other common facial injuries include:

  • Disfigurement: A high-speed crash where the face hits the glass, dashboard, seat or steering wheel can cause massive, disfiguring facial injuries. No matter what kind of injury you had to your face, it is possible your appearance will be altered forever. You could have a severe disfigurement that makes you feel unattractive or lack confidence in your appearance. You may not want to go out in public or spend time with friends and family. Your life can be seriously affected.
  • Scarring and Lacerations: Cuts to the face could seem like minor injuries in a car accident. But lacerations can be long, deep and leave terrible scars. The laceration can be jagged and like a tear that leaves a lasting scar. Facial wounds and lacerations may need several additional surgeries to reduce scarring. Even with the best medical care, you could have permanent scars on your face that impair the movement of facial muscles. You also may have to deal with the embarrassment of going out in public with major facial scars.
  • Broken Face Bones: The face may be slammed into the airbag, windshield, or dashboard, which can cause a broken jaw, nose or other facial fractures. There are 14 bones in the face that can be shattered in a car accident. Some facial bone injuries can heal on their own, but others can take months of treatment and still leave you with disfigurement. Fractured facial bones are common in car accidents. But the doctor cannot put a cast on the face, so surgeries may be required to stabilize the bones as they heal.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Bruises, contusions, and lacerations are common in car accidents. Soft tissue injuries may require stitches for treatment. The doctor needs to use great care when working on a soft tissue injury because the salivary glands, salivary ducts, and facial nerves may be affected.
  • Dental injuries: It is common for teeth to be chipped, cracked, or knocked out in a major collision. Many facial injuries from car accidents include broken or lost teeth. Many accident victims do not have dental insurance, so you can have thousands of dollars of unpaid dental bills after your accident. Living without teeth is a cosmetic issue but also can make it hard to eat, and it can force your jaw into an unnatural position that may cause pain and other injuries.
  • Joint injuries: If your face slams into the steering wheel during a crash, you may have a temporomandibular joint injury (TMJ). The force of the crash can lead to jaw bone fracturing or dislocating. TMJ can lead to major complications, such as a locked jaw, limited jaw mobility, abnormal bite, headaches, and pain in the face, back, and neck.
  • Airbag burns: Airbags are effective in preventing some serious injuries, but you can still get facial burns from the airbag that can cause major, long term injuries. Friction or chemical burns can happen when the airbag opens during a crash. These burns can leave you with long-term scars on your face. Also, fires occur in many car accidents which cause severe burns all over the body. A car fire can cause terrible scarring and burns to the face that will affect you for the rest of your life.
  • Eye Injuries: Many car accident victims lose an eye when their face smashes into a part of the car from flying glass and debris. Losing an eye is a terrible injury. Even if you are fitted with a prosthetic eye, you are still blind in that eye. Your vision is changed forever. During a car accident, you may slam your face or head into the interior of the vehicle, including the steering wheel, back of a seat or window. Broken glass also can cause serious eye injuries, as well.
Talk to The Herron Law Firm Today

Facial injuries from car accidents are very serious. They can negatively affect your life for years or permanently. Talk to The Herron Law Firm today. We can help you to get the compensation you deserve to put your life back together. Remember, if you were in a car accident with facial injuries in Oregon, you will want to speak to an experienced facial injury attorney. Facial injuries are complex, expensive and can months or years to repair. The cost of these procedures can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and your or the other driver’s auto insurance may not cover it all. You can obtain the compensation you deserve to get your life back on track by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.