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How much compensation can I claim for a tongue injury?

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Jenny Jones

Panel Senior Litigator

Lingual nerve damage

The lingual nerve is located near the sides of the tongue and is responsible for senses of taste and touch to its front two-thirds and underside.

It may sustain accidental damage as a result of surgical treatments to the mouth, particularly during the extraction of lower wisdom teeth. It may also suffer injury during surgery for facial deformity or as a result of facial fractures.

Although 90% of injuries are temporary and resolve with 8 weeks, if the symptoms last longer than 6 months they may be considered permanent.

What are the symptoms?

A patient whose lingual nerve has been damaged may experience symptoms which include:  

  • Anaesthesia - a numbing sensation of the tongue;
  • Paresthesia - tingling in the mouth;
  • Dysesthesia - burning pain of the tongue or mouth.

These abnormal sensations or pain may cause difficulty with speech and mastication (chewing) as well as altered taste perception.

Is there any treatment?

A course of steroids or anti-inflammatory tablets and pain killers may help ease the symptoms, but surgery may also be required.

Is it possible to bring a claim against a surgeon or dentist who caused the injury?

Injuries such as these may affect a Claimant's quality of life. As well as physical issues such as pain and the loss of taste, if his speech is affected he may be reluctant to socialise, leading to emotional problems.

If it can be demonstrated that the injury could have been avoided, and therefore the surgeon was negligent in his treatment of the Claimant, it may be possible to claim for special damages to cover the cost of any treatment and loss of earnings, and general damages for pain and suffering and loss of amenity.

Cancer of the Tongue

The tongue may sustain injury when a person accidentally bites his own tongue, or burns it by drinking or eating overheated foodstuffs. These injuries generally heal quickly, but where a sore or lump fails to heal it may be a symptom of tongue cancer.

Diagnosis and treatment

If a person's GP suspects that his patient may have tongue cancer he should refer him to an oral specialist.

Diagnosis is confirmed through a biopsy of the lump and any tumour should be treated by radiotherapy and/or surgery. Both treatments may have significant side effects, affecting swallowing and speech. Radiotherapy may also interfere with the salivary glands and this may result in tooth decay.

Failure to diagnose

If diagnosis is delayed a cancer may progress to a more advanced stage and may spread to other parts of the body.

Delays in diagnosis may arise from a GP's negligence in not thoroughly examine a patient or refer a patient to a specialist for further investigation.

An oral specialist may also misinterpret investigations and consequently fail to correctly diagnose. This may also lead to unnecessary surgery being performed on a non-cancerous tongue.

As misdiagnosis can be very serious it may be possible to succeed in a medical negligence claim if it can be demonstrated that the delay affected the outcome of the Claimant's future health.

How to make a guaranteed no win - no fee tongue injury claim

A no win no fee arrangement (more correctly called a CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between a claimant and a PI solicitor.

The CFA is the terms under which the solicitor is instructed by their client.

The contract sets out what the solicitor will do and how he is remunerated if the claim is successful.

If you instruct a Quittance solicitor for your tongue injury compensation claim there are absolutely no hidden costs in the terms and conditions , no up-front fees and the reassurance that you will never be financially out of pocket.

What to do next

Gather as much information as you can

Before you choose to instruct your lawyer you should arm yourself with information. Information will help you make the right decision for your future.

Find answers to popular questions asked by injured people on the frequently asked questions page.

Compare personal injury solicitors

The majority of personal injury lawyers tend to work on a No Win, No Fee arrangement.

For a better idea how much more of your compensation settlement you could receive with Quittance's personal injury lawyers, get a comparison quote here.

Start a claim

To start a claim or to get more information on whether you have a claim, call us on 0800 612 7456. Alternatively, you can begin your compensation claim online here.