Your head is often the first body part to make impact during a bad bicycle spill. Your helmet hopefully secures your brain, but according to medical professionals, the jaw is near the top of the list of places on your face likely to break in a severe sports accident.
Mountain biking, in particular, can put you at risk for a jaw injury. The combination of rough terrain and obstacles can quickly lead to a devastating blow to the face.
Of course, a rider on any type of road can get sent over the handlebars, headfirst, creating the chance of a mandibular fracture (broken jaw). An encounter with a vehicle can lend more force to any crash. The driver’s carelessness can leave you badly injured and facing a long recovery.
A Broken Jaw And Interconnectivity
The most common location of a jaw fracture is at the mandibular condyle. That’s where the jawbone meets the skull at the area near the bottom of the ear. A fracture at that spot affects both the bone, muscles, and cartilage in the mandibular joint. Those parts help the mouth open and close.
Fractured Jaw Symptoms
If a rider has fractured their jaw, he or she will suffer severe pain. Aside from that, other symptoms usually include:
- Pain while chewing or inability to chew
- Swelling of the face
- A change in the shape of the face
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- A noticeably different bite until the fracture is fixed
- Difficulty Breathing
- Loose or even lost teeth
Treatment and Recovery from Jaw Fractures
A broken jaw can require multiple surgeries and intensive rehabilitation. In the immediate aftermath, a victim’s head and chin may be wrapped up to immobilize the injury. Most fractured jaws are treated by wiring the victim’s upper and lower teeth together for four to six weeks. More serious fractures might take longer.
These procedures are usually performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. An unstable jaw fracture might require surgical implantation of plates across the location of the fracture.
A Broken Jaw and Tooth Damage
There can be another complicating factor: injuries to both the jaw and teeth must be treated at the same time. Even if teeth are cosmetically replaced, a bicycle accident victim who suffers a fractured jaw is likely to suffer intermittent pain and discomfort for life.
When such a devastating bicycle tragedy is caused by the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, compensation can be sought in the form of a claim or lawsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I can’t eat my favorite foods after a jaw injury?
If the inability to eat is temporary, you may receive compensation for loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering for the duration of the injury. If there is any permanent inability to eat and enjoy life, damage can be sought as well. The person who injured you has to pay for all reasonable losses that you suffered because of your injury.
Can I trust the insurance company to give me full compensation?
The truth is that the insurance company agents and adjusters have one job to do and that is to save their company as much as possible. This means that no matter how logical their offer sounds or the amount it is, you need someone on your side who knows the law and can make sure you are being treated fairly.
What if I rode my bike in front of the car that hit me?
If you were injured because you rode your bike in the path of a car, this might not mean that you are completely financially responsible. California enacts comparative negligence, meaning that if the other driver was even partially at fault then s/he must pay their portion of the damages. The driver could have been distracted or speeding or there may be a number of other factors that could place a percentage of the blame on him or her. Talk to an attorney who knows the law and how to get you compensation even if you feel you were partially at fault.
Contact a Los Angeles Bicycle Law Attorney
At Los Angeles Bicycle Law, we concentrate our practice solely on bicyclists who have been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of others. We’re dedicated and effective Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers. If you were injured in a bicycle accident in or around Los Angeles or anywhere else in Southern California, contact us right away for a confidential free consultation and case review.