COURT CASES on JAW INJURIES
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DYSFUNCTION (TMJ)
In Besic v Kerenyi, the Plaintiff was the victim of an assault, and suffered a fractured mandibular, and permanent nerve damage. The Court awarded $75,000 for pain and suffering.
 There is no doubt that Mr. Besic’s life has been altered by this incident. He had to undergo surgery to repair the fracture and his jaw was wired shut for over a month. He was placed on a liquid-only diet and, consequently, experienced some short-term weight loss.
 The long-term consequences have been more severe. Two of Mr. Besic’s left molars were knocked out. He has not had the recommended dental repair performed so the gaps in his mouth are still there, eight years later. He either has to undergo surgery, risking further nerve damage, or live without these two teeth for the remainder of his life.
 The mandibular fracture caused permanent damage to the trigeminal nerve. As a result, Mr. Besic experiences numbness in his chin, lips and jaw. This causes him to drool while he eats and is a source of embarrassment. He does not notice if food has dripped, or become stuck, on his face because he cannot feel it. He finds himself constantly wiping his face in an attempt to ensure no food is lingering there.
 The nerve damage has caused a prickling pain in his face and jaw. Both this and the numbness are unlikely to improve. There is also a possibility that a future facial injury could cause the numbness to worsen.
 Since the incident, Mr. Besic finds that he has issues with his speech. Occasionally, he will slur his words or mumble, particularly when he becomes tired or is out in the cold. He believes that this is as a result of the numbness, although his neurologist, Dr. Frank Kemble, has questioned whether that is, in fact, the cause.
 Mr. Besic still experiences pain in his jaw joints and muscles, as well as neuropathic pain. His jaw is often stiff, particularly in the morning. His temporomandibular joint clicks and pops, especially when he eats. This results in discomfort and headaches. Mr. Besic also suffers extreme ear pain when he flies…
 I find $70,000 to be an appropriate amount for Mr. Besic’s injuries. While Mr. Besic does not suffer from a deformity of the jaw or dramatic weight loss, like the plaintiff in Pete, he does suffer from some similar injuries, such as numbness in the face and jaw, as well as jaw pain. He also experiences the resulting social embarrassment these injuries cause.
NON-TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DYSFUNCTION
In Dhanoa v Hui, the Plaintiff suffered injuries to the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint, rather than injuries to the joint itself, and was awarded $25,000 for pain and suffering.
1. Contusion mandible.
2. Soft tissue injuries cervical and upper thoracic spine.
3. Cerebral palsy.
Jiwan Dhanoa has largely recovered from the injuries which he sustained resulting from the motor vehicle accident of December 6, 2004. The injuries have not resulted in permanency with respect to his musculoskeletal system. It is anticipated that he will continue to improve in the foreseeable future and be left with no disability specific to his injuries. He requires no further therapeutic modalities with respect to management and if so, they arise from his cerebral palsy condition and not from his injuries. There does not appear to be any functional overlay with regard to his recovery other than he appears to be somewhat pain-focussed with respect to residual complaints without any significant objective findings. In short, it is my view that his complaints will be self-resolving. I would anticipate this to be the case over the next 3 to 6 months. This may be impacted by the fact that he has a condition which affects his musculoskeletal system and may protract any symptomatology somewhat longer for this reason. On the other hand, there is no evidence that he has sustained injuries which will lead to permanency. There should be no limit with respect to occupational activities that can be introduced to him and that he is capable of handling within the realm of his disability arising from cerebral palsy.
I think overall that the prognosis is excellent and that Jiwan Dhanoa will resume his activities within the limitation imposed on him by the pre-traumatic state.
 Thus, it appears that both specialists agree that the plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to muscles of the jaw area and the neck and shoulders, and that recovery has been protracted because of his cerebral palsy condition.