The trauma of experiencing a car accident can be compounded by injuries. For children, this often means concussions. When your child is hurt, trauma is amplified due to seeing the pain of your child as well as the financial strain of missing work to care for your child. If your child suffered a concussion as the result of a car accident, they need to see a medical professional immediately for treatment. You should also contact an experienced lawyer to understand you and your child’s rights.
Concussion Is a Form of a Traumatic Brain Injury
A direct hard blow or bump to the head can jolt the brain, causing damage to the blood vessels, nerves, or bruising. This jolt affects the brain’s ability to function temporarily. Concussions often happen in children because their heads are large in comparison to the rest of their body, and because in very young children, the skull is not yet fully developed into a hard protective shell.
What Are the Causes of Accident-Related Concussions?
Every year, thousands of children are seen in emergency rooms for concussions, many of which are related to car accidents. The impact of a front-end or rear-end collision can be powerful enough to cause real damage to the undeveloped body of a child. Common causes of accident-related concussions in children include:
- Defective child seats. Small children should always ride in the back of the vehicle in an appropriate child seat. An ill-fitting or defective car seat could result in the child’s head being left unprotected in the event of a crash.
- Faulty seat belts. Child seats are restrained with the car’s existing seat belt system. If it is defective, it could release the child seat on impact.
- Striking the head on a hard surface in the car. In a car accident, the impact can cause the occupants to be flung forward or backwards. A child’s head could hit something hard, or a loose flying object can strike the head.
- Violent shaking of the head. In this case, the head does not strike a hard surface, but the impact of the accident causes the child’s brain to strike the skull inside, causing a concussion.
- Air bags. Air bags are meant to provide additional protection to passengers, but they can also cause injuries, including concussions.
How Do I Know if My Child Got a Concussion From a Car Accident?
There are many symptoms of a concussion, and every child will respond differently to a head injury. However, the most common symptoms of concussions include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Tiredness or drowsiness
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble focusing or concentrating
It is important to know that symptoms often appear between 24 and 72 hours after an accident. Symptoms of a concussion can easily be mistaken for other illnesses or not identified as the result of a head injury. This is why it is crucial to see a doctor after a car accident, even if you feel that your child is okay.
A professional may recognize the signs of concussion that may not be readily apparent to a lay person. With small children, there is the added problem that they may have trouble describing any physical and cognitive symptoms they are experiencing.
Symptoms of a severe concussion include:
- Difficulty walking
- Slurred speech
- Continued vomiting
- Loss of consciousness or unresponsiveness
- Severe headache
- Confusion and talking nonsense
- Memory loss
A child with any of these symptoms should be taken immediately to the emergency room.
How Are Concussions Treated?
A child who has suffered a concussion must rest to give the brain a chance to recover from the impact. While basic activities are fine, more physical activities, like sports, should be restricted until the symptoms subside and the concussion is healed. The child should also avoid mental activities that stress the brain, including reading, doing homework, watching television, playing video games, using a computer, tablet, or other devices. Bright lights and loud noises can also aggravate symptoms.
Activities can be resumed as the child’s condition improves. Recovery should be monitored by a pediatrician to check on brain function, memory, and behavior. You can also ask your child’s teachers or caregivers to give feedback on any changes they observe.
When someone is injured in a car accident that happened because of the negligence of another party, they have a right to pursue compensation for their injuries. Since a child is a minor, the parents are allowed to file a personal injury claim and negotiate a settlement on behalf of the child.
Compensation can include damages for injuries, pain and suffering, and for the expenses incurred by the parents, such as medical bills and wages lost related to caring for the child’s injuries. For injuries that require long-term care, damages for future medical bills should also be taken into account.
Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Children Injured by Negligent Drivers
Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow know there is nothing more stressful for a parent than seeing your child injured because of someone else’s negligence. If your child has a severe injury because of a car accident, we can help. Call us at (302) 427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.