Motor vehicle, workplace, slip and fall, or other personal injury accidents often happen suddenly and lead to many different kinds of injuries. Injuries that are severe and life-threatening will undoubtedly take precedence over many different types of dental damages. Dental injuries should not be overlooked, though, as they can have long-term consequences. That’s why it’s essential to see a dental professional for an evaluation as soon as possible after an accident.
Types of Accident-Related Tooth Damage
Some common types of accident-related tooth damages include:
- Chipped, broken, cracked, fractured, or split tooth
- Dislodged (luxated) tooth
- Knocked out (avulsed) teeth
- Root fractures
Depending on the severity, these damages may only need a quick fix—or they could also mean long-term treatment from a dentist, orthodontist, or another dental professional.
Personal Injury Claims for Tooth Damage
If you broke, chipped, dislodged or otherwise damaged your teeth in an accident, you may have a valid personal injury claim. Tooth damage affects accident victims in different ways. “pain and suffering” isn’t only just the actual discomfort and physical pain caused by the tooth damage, but includes all of the direct adverse effects on the accident victim’s life.
Depending on the damage and the kind of dental repair, victims may have their eating abilities and habits permanently altered. They may also suffer a cosmetic issue that affects their well-being or livelihood. Accident-related tooth damage is such that a victim may not need to rely on their testimony alone, as damage to teeth can be seen directly—either by looking at them, looking at x-rays or photos, or hearing the testimony of a qualified dentist, orthodontist, or other dental expert.
Some injury damages, like orthodontic bills, dental bills, medical bills, and lost wages are examples of “concrete” injury damages. For less concrete damages like “pain and suffering,” every case and every jury is different, so you’ll want to have strong evidence to back up your claim from your dental and medical professionals.
Because most victims will (and should) have their teeth repaired before a lawsuit comes to trial, it is essential to have accurate and meticulous documentation of the nature of your damages and request that your dental professional keep clear records of the course of your treatment. If documentation of tooth damage is sub-par or incomplete, the negligent or at-fault party could point it out and argue that the damage was likely not as extensive as the victim wants them to believe.
Furthermore, accidents that involve oral cavity and tooth injuries typically involve some kind of head injury as well, which is critical to the claim, as many times a “head injury” is considered more serious than a “tooth injury.”
Get Help from a Dental Professional
Whatever your personal situation, one thing is clear: you need to have the damage assessed and documented by a qualified and credentialed dental professional. Contact an orthodontist, like an orthodontist in San Clemente, CA, and set up a consultation to share the details and concerns of your situation and learn how to proceed. Time is of the essence, so call today.
Thanks to John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into the importance of making a claim for your tooth issues in your personal injury lawsuit.