A broken or injured jaw is a serious injury and, apart from being extremely painful, jaw injuries are debilitating and can significantly affect your quality of life.
This injury often limits the ability of its victims to eat, speak or even breathe in the most serious of cases. So, it is not surprising that victims of this type of injury can often suffer from related psychological and emotional trauma, besides the physical effects.
If you have been unfortunate enough to suffer from a broken or injured jaw, which was caused by someone else, this article will guide you through the key steps you need to know to make claim compensation for a broken jaw.
What Classifies As A Broken/injured Jaw?
To understand what a broken jaw is, you first need to know about the structure and anatomy of the human jaw. The jaw has two joints and the mandible is the largest bone in the human skull. The mandible (lower jaw) is the bone that forms the lower part of the skull and, along with the maxilla (upper jaw), forms the structure of the mouth. When one or both of these joints crack, break or dislocate from the skull, this leads to a broken or injured jaw.
What Are The Common Types Of Jaw Injuries?
When it comes to jaw injuries the most common types are:
- Fractured jaw
- Broken jaw
- Nerve damage
- Dislocated jaw
- Torn ligaments, muscles or tendons
- Temporomandibular Disorder (a condition that affects the muscles used for chewing)
What Are The Common Causes Of A Broken/injured Jaw?
The most common causes of a broken/injured jaw that typically lead to compensation claims are as follows:
- Dental procedures and implants that go wrong
- Criminal assaults
- Slips, falls and trips in the home, work environment or a public place
- Sports injuries
- Road traffic accidents
Please note: this list is not exhaustive and even if the cause of your jaw injury is not listed above, you could still be eligible to claim compensation. Speak to a claims advisor for further clarification.
What Are The Consequences Of A Broken/injured Jaw?
Sadly, suffering from a broken or injured jaw can lead to further complications down the line, which can affect the victim’s appearance and/or their quality of life. Many people seek compensation to help with consequences such as:
- Inability to fully move the jaw
- Loss of teeth
- Difficulty with breathing, due to blocked airways
- A protruding jaw or overbite
- Pain, bleeding and swelling
- Limited ability to speak or chew
- Facial disfigurement
- Bruising and numbness in the jaw and face
- Inability of the teeth to properly align
- Inability to fully close the mouth, leading to drooling
- Damage to the ear canal
What Should I Do, To Claim Compensation For a Broken Jaw?
Before you can be compensated for your broken or injured jaw, there are steps you should take to make the courts aware of your injury. They include the following:
Get Medical Treatment
Jaw injuries are painful and can often worsen if left untreated. So, before anything else, ensure you seek the proper medical treatment as soon as possible.
During your initial medical assessment and the subsequent course of treatment, your doctor will examine your injury to ascertain its severity, carry out the relevant procedures or surgery to repair the damage and advise on the potential effects it may have on your quality of life.
All this information will go into your medical records. This record will be a strong proof of your injury and will play a major role in determining your final compensation amount.
Gather Your Evidence
Your medical records will not be the only evidence required. You will also need eyewitness statements corroborating your claims about how the injury happened, so ask for their contact details if you can.
Photographs of your injured jaw and the scene where it happened should also be collated wherever possible.
Make a written record of what lead up to the accident/injury in as much detail as you can and update this record as you go along, with what happened afterwards and any treatment you have needed during your recovery. Do not rely on your memory alone, as this will fade with time. A written statement compiled at the time of the accident will be a useful tool if the matter needs to go to court.
If your injury happened at work and there have been similar incidents or accidents there in the past, try to obtain proof or ask colleagues for their statements. Nevertheless, if you are having difficulty collating the necessary evidence, your solicitor should be able to help.
You will also need to collate all out-of-pocket expenses that you have accrued because of your injury. These expenses could be as minor as buying pain-relieving tablets or prescription costs, right up to any loss of earnings or travel costs to and from medical appointments.
Ensure that you safely keep all receipts, invoices, and other similar documents detailing your expenses. When your compensation is being calculated, all your proven expenses will be refunded.
Consult A Claims Advisor Or Solicitor
The final step towards getting compensation for your injury is contacting a legal professional with experience in personal injury claims.
If you instruct a claims advisor or solicitor to proceed on your behalf, they will review your case details, go through all your evidence with you and request access to your medical records. This will help him/her assess the validity of your case and enable them to provide advice on what the likely outcome will be.
Besides helping to build a strong case for you with the evidence they have, an experienced solicitor will also ensure that you get the maximum compensation pay-out for your claim.
Is There A Time Limit Claiming Compensation For a Broken Jaw?
Yes, but it is dependent on the circumstances that lead to your broken jaw and what type of claim you wish to file. If your broken jaw was caused by a criminal assault and you wish to file an assault claim with CICA, you have two years to do so, starting from the date it happened.
However, if you wish to proceed with a personal injury/accident claim, the time limit for this is three years from when it happened. (Note: We have a separate article covering CICA claims if you wish to know more, or your legal representative will be able to advise on the best course of action for your case).
However, note that this time limit does not include minors. If the broken jaw injury happened to someone under 18 years, their parents or guardians can file a claim on their behalf. If not, the injured child has until their 21st birthday to file their own claim.
There may also be exceptions to this time limit if the victim lacks full mental capacity or was unable to file the claim in time due to the extent of the injury, or was incapacitated (e.g. in a coma).
How Will My Compensation Be Calculated?
There are two major factors that will determine the overall compensation pay-out you will receive for your broken or injured jaw and they include:
1) General Damages
This type of damages is awarded for the physical and psychological effects of the injury, that cannot be easily calculated. Thus, general damages will determine how much you should receive for the suffering, loss of amenity (quality of life) and pain caused by the injury. The Judicial College sets the guidelines for general damages compensation.
2) Special Damages
Unlike general damages, special damages are easily calculated. They represent the financial expenses and losses you incurred from the injury. Special damages usually include the following:
- Loss of earnings (both present and future)
- Prescription costs and any future treatment expenses
- Travel expenses related to the treatment of the injury
- Costs of rehabilitation
- Caregiver expenses
- Car or home adaptation expenses
How Much Should I Expect As Compensation For My Broken/injured Jaw?
Giving an exact compensation figure is not possible, as all jaw injury cases differ. In any event, the Judicial College provide guidelines for the amount of compensation you could receive based on the severity of the injury and the impact on a person’s life, both present and future. As you would expect, the more serious the injury and it’s effects, the higher the compensation settlement will be.
However, we can provide some examples of what a pay-out could be, but it is important to note that these are only estimates and the amount you may get can be higher or lower than these figures.
If the jaw fracture leads to a short period of immobilisation, from which the victim is expected to fully recover, a typical compensation is likely to be around £5,000-£7,000
However, in cases where the fracture leads to partial paralysis and limits the ability of the victim to open their mouth or eat, the likely compensation increases to around £14,000-£24,000
As the severity increases, so does the compensation, so if the jaw injury results in a future risk of arthritis, long term issues, difficulty with eating and relentless suffering and pain, a compensation pay-out could be from £24,000-£36,000
Will My Compensation Claim Bankrupt The Party Responsible For My Jaw Injury?
There are some cases where people refuse to file for compensation because they worry that it will adversely affect the liable party’s livelihood. While this concern is quite understandable, the reality is that compensation is often paid for out of insurance, rather than an individual.
For instance, if your injury was caused by a road traffic accident, the person responsible will not generally pay for your compensation out of their own pocket. Instead, their car insurance (which is mandatory for all drivers in the UK) will usually cover your compensation.
Similarly, if your injury happened at work, the compulsory business indemnity insurance taken out by your employer will usually pay for your compensation.
However, there is no insurance that covers a jaw injury caused by a criminal assault. Unlike the above examples, the person who assaulted you will have to pay your compensation themselves. If they cannot be located, or cannot pay compensation, a CICA claim may be necessary – see below.
The Person Responsible For My Injury Is Nowhere To Be Found – What Should I Do?
In the event that you cannot identify the person that caused your jaw injury, you or your solicitor can file your claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a government backed scheme which aims to provide compensation for victims of a criminal assault.
However, note that the CICA uses an injury tariff system to set their compensation amounts, which is different from the Judicial College guidelines used to determine a personal injury claim. Since the CICA is a public organisation, your compensation could be smaller than if you had otherwise gone to court. We have a separate article dedicated to CICA claims which you may find useful.
Claiming Compensation For a Broken Jaw: Conclusion
A broken or damaged jaw is not an injury to be taken lightly. The longer you delay treatment, the higher the risk of permanent damage or disability. If someone else was liable for your injury, consider making a claim, so you can begin your journey to seeking the compensation you deserve.