You were involved in a car accident. At the time, it didn’t seem like anyone suffered serious injuries. Maybe you got a few scrapes and bruises but otherwise felt fine. But in the days following your crash, you’ve begun to notice a few troubling symptoms. You don’t quite feel like yourself. You’re trying to remember—Did I hit my head in the accident?
If this sounds like what happened to you, you’re likely asking questions about identifying a concussion after a car accident. Read on to learn the signs to look for. Below, we provide the top 7 signs you suffered a concussion in a car accident.
Top 7 Signs of a Concussion After a Car Accident
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) caused by a hard jolt to the head or body. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have hit your head to sustain a concussion. If the impact to your body is strong enough—causing your brain to move forcefully back and forth inside your skull—you can still suffer a concussion.
A concussion is not generally life-threatening, but the effects can be very serious. This form of TBI can result in chemical changes in the brain and damaged brain cells. Don’t let the term “mild” fool you. A concussion is a serious head injury and must be treated as such to avoid lasting damage.
Identifying a concussion after a car accident requires that you be on the lookout for any of these top 7 signs of a concussion:
#1. You have a headache that won’t go away.
A persistent, unfamiliar headache is a strong sign that you suffered some kind of head trauma in the crash. If your headache worsens, the pain becomes unbearable, or the headache is accompanied by blurred vision, it’s imperative that you call a doctor immediately.
#2. You lost consciousness.
Not all concussions are accompanied by loss of consciousness. But if you know for a fact that you blacked out for any amount of time, it’s likely that you sustained an MTBI. Loss of consciousness may have happened when your head struck the dashboard, steering wheel, or car window.
#3. You’re experiencing dizziness and nausea.
People who have suffered a concussion may vomit, feel continuous nausea, or experience dizziness when standing, sitting, or lying down. These are reliable indicators that your brain was injured in the collision.
#4. You’re sensitive to light and sounds.
Sounds and light may feel unbearable during this time. You may also notice sensations like ringing in the ears and seeing stars or black spots. Alert your doctor to these symptoms as soon as you become aware of them.
#5. You’re confused and agitated.
Cognitive and behavioral changes are common symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Your loved ones may notice these changes before you do. You might be more likely to snap or lose control of your anger. You may be forgetful, anxious, distracted, or feel like your brain is muddled. While these symptoms can be frightening, know that they are fairly normal among concussion sufferers and will likely disappear with the right medical care.
#6. You feel sluggish.
Feeling like you don’t have your normal “get up and go” can also indicate that you have a concussion. Concussion patients often report feelings of exhaustion, fatigue, sluggishness, apathy, listlessness, or just feeling “off.” Although these might not seem like scientific terms, they are very real ways to identify a concussion after a car accident. Don’t discredit your symptoms as a figment of your imagination. You know yourself better than anyone else. Let your doctor know if you feel like you just aren’t yourself in the days after your accident.
#7. You’re not sleeping like you normally do.
Sleep disturbances—whether insomnia or sleeping too much—are often associated with MTBIs. If possible, try to keep a sleep journal to share with your treating physician.
What Happens if I Suffered a Concussion in a Car Accident?
If you believe you may have suffered a concussion in your car accident, contact your doctor right away. The likelihood that you will endure long-term effects increases if you don’t receive proper or timely medical care.
Schedule an appointment with your physician and notify the office that you were injured in a car accident. Be clear and detailed about the symptoms you have identified and any changes you are observing over time.
How To Treat a Concussion
A concussion is a unique type of injury. There is no one, simple recovery timeline that can be applied to every case. Each person reacts differently to a head injury. There are a number of factors that impact the healing process, including age, health condition, whether a concussion was suffered in the past, and a variety of other influences researchers are still exploring.
Some people recover in a matter of days, while others require weeks or months to return to a pre-concussion state. For some, especially those who do not seek medical care, the effects of a concussion can have a long-term impact.
In general, a concussion should be treated by:
- Seeking immediate medical attention and following the doctor’s instructions faithfully
- Getting plenty of physical and mental rest
- Avoiding bright lights, screens, loud noises, and situations of high stimulation
- Refraining from activities that require a high level of mental concentration
- Taking naps during the day as often as you feel you need them
- Avoiding physical activity as advised by your treating physician
- Using pain management techniques as directed
You may need to shorten your work or school days, limit your time using a computer or phone, or curtail job-related activities in other ways. It’s important to follow the recovery instructions your doctor’s office provides, even if you feel like it interferes with your life. Stick to the recovery schedule, no matter how inconvenient you may feel it is. Don’t let an eagerness to get back to your daily routine cause you to suffer permanent brain damage.
What Happens if Another Driver Caused My Accident?
If another driver’s negligence caused your car accident, your concussion was preventable. This means it never should have happened in the first place—and the at-fault driver is responsible for the harm they unnecessarily caused you.
In situations like these, Texas law gives injury victims the right to recover compensation for the losses they sustained through the negligent party’s actions. This is done by filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. A successful claim will allow you to regain financial security and cover damages like medical bills, auto repairs, lost wages from time off work, and even non-financial injuries like pain and suffering.
Identifying and treating a concussion after a car accident is already a fully consuming task. During your rest and recovery period, you shouldn’t also have to manage difficult legal matters. That’s the job of your car accident lawyer.
At The Mejia Law Firm, we understand how much a concussion can change the way you live your day-to-day. We want to give you the freedom to recover in peace, knowing that we are taking care of your car accident case with the highest degree of skill, professionalism, and compassion.
Come see why our clients trust The Mejia Law Firm to handle difficult situations. A free consultation is available to injured car crash victims seeking legal guidance in the Houston area. Our fully bilingual personal injury law office can accommodate a free case evaluation for you and your family in English or Spanish.
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