Lingual nerve damage can cause immense suffering that drastically affects your quality of life. If you’ve suffered such an injury as a result of dental negligence, you may be entitled to compensation through a dental malpractice claim. How much compensation you can recover in a dental malpractice claim for lingual nerve damage can vary widely depending on many factors.
What Is Lingual Nerve Damage?
The lingual nerve is a branch of the trigeminal nerve, which is the largest nerve in the head. The lingual nerve runs alongside the tongue, providing sensation to the floor of the mouth and the front 2/3 of the tongue. This part of the tongue is key to tasting your favorite dessert and feeling when your coffee is too hot.
Damage to the lingual nerve can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Altered taste or loss of taste
- Loss of sensation in the tongue
- Tingling sensation in the tongue
- Pain or burning sensation in the tongue
- Impaired speech
If these symptoms occur after having dental work done, it may be a sign of lingual nerve damage caused by dental malpractice. The lingual nerve can be damaged during procedures such as:
- Wisdom teeth extractions
- Dental implant surgery
- Root canal treatment
- Crown or bridge preparation
If a dentist’s error caused a lingual nerve injury, you may be entitled to compensation. The different types of compensation that you may be able to recover and how much will depend on the circumstances of your specific case.
Types of Compensation You Can Recover in a Dental Malpractice Claim
In a dental malpractice claim, you may be able to recover two types of compensation for lingual nerve damage:
Economic damages are compensation for the financial losses caused by lingual nerve damage. Examples can include:
- Wage Loss: If lingual nerve damage has caused you to miss work or take a lower-paying job, you can seek compensation for lost wages.
- Medical bills: You can seek compensation for medical bills already incurred because of the lingual nerve damage, as well as treatment you are expected to need going forward due to the injury.
- Medical liens by health insurance carrier: If any medical bills were paid by your health insurance, they may have a right to reimbursement out of the settlement or verdict.
- Out-of-pocket expenses: This can include items such as co-pays, transportation costs associated with medical care, and the cost of medications.
Economic damages are typically the easiest to calculate when it comes to dental malpractice claims. There should be documentation of the medical expenses, lost wages and other economic losses.
Noneconomic damages aren’t as easy to calculate as economic damages but may be more substantial. Examples of noneconomic damages related to lingual nerve injury include:
- Pain and suffering: This can include the physical pain caused by the lingual nerve damage, as well as any mental pain it has caused.
- Mental anguish: This can include any anxiety, depression, or fear associated with the injury.
- Loss of ability to enjoy life: This includes the loss of pleasure you experience in activities you previously enjoyed, such as eating and talking, and can include the time since the injury and future loss of enjoyment that is anticipated because of the damage.
- Disfigurement: This can include physical changes to the face, tongue, and other parts of the mouth due to numbness, muscle contractions, scarring, and changes in saliva production.
- Loss of taste: Lingual nerve damage can result in a complete loss of ability to taste or alter your ability to taste.
- Loss of sensation: Losing sensation in the tongue and floor of the mouth can affect many aspects of your life, including eating and drinking, talking and even kissing.
- Drooling: Drooling can cause embarrassment and make day-to-day life more difficult.
- Speech impediment: The lingual nerve is the main nerve responsible for coordinating speech. Damage to the nerve can result in slurring or difficulty pronouncing words.
Factors That Affect Compensation in Lingual Nerve Damage Claims
Several factors go into calculating compensation for noneconomic damages in a lingual nerve injury. These include:
- Age: Generally, younger claimants can expect to receive more than someone who is older due to the amount of time they could potentially be affected by the injuries. A 22-year-old who has permanent pain and tingling of the tongue will likely continue to endure that suffering for decades longer than a 65-year-old with the same injuries.
- Severity: The severity of the nerve damage symptoms will also be taken into account. The more severe the injury, the higher the compensation may be.
- Prognosis: If the symptoms are expected to continue indefinitely, the compensation will likely be higher than in cases where the symptoms are expected to resolve eventually.
- Impact on daily life: The court will consider the type of symptoms you are suffering and the impact that they will have on your life.
Examples of Lingual Nerve Damage Compensation
Compensation for lingual nerve damage will depend on all of the factors mentioned above and more. As a Fort Lauderdale dental malpractice lawyer, Lisa Levine has handled many lingual nerve injury cases that resulted in six-figure settlements.
Not every individual who suffers lingual nerve damage will be eligible for financial compensation. The best way to determine your legal options is to speak to an experienced Florida malpractice attorney. Lisa S. Levine, P.A. has been representing victims of dental and medical injuries for more than 35 years. Call (954) 256-1820 to schedule a free consultation to learn your legal rights and determine the best way forward.