A concussion is traumatic brain injury caused by impact to the head, or forceful shaking of the head and upper body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in this country.
Unlike lacerations, bruises, and broken bones, concussion and other brain trauma symptoms are not always immediately apparent. That is why it is critical to see a healthcare provider after an auto accident.
What Is a Concussion?
The impact of a car accident—whether it is the vehicle colliding with another object, or the occupant striking something inside the vehicle—can cause the head and upper body to move violently back and forth.
That forceful motion can result in stretching and bruising of the delicate brain tissue. Brain tissue damage leads to chemical changes that alter how the organ functions resulting in a range of concussion symptoms.
Concussion Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of a concussion are often subtle and may not occur immediately after the initial impact. They also vary in type and severity. The injured person may experience certain symptoms immediately after the event and others in the days and weeks that follow. Concussion symptoms can look different from person to person.
Signs and symptoms of a concussion can include:
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Drowsiness / fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Sensitivity to noise and/or light
- Issues with smell and/or taste
- No memory of the traumatic accident
- Depression and other mood disorders
To an outsider, someone with a concussion may appear dazed, confused, and forgetful. They may not recall what happened and can ask the same questions repeatedly.
A person who loses consciousness, has bleeding or fluid loss from the nose or ears, severe headache, and significant changes in behavior or mood may have a serious brain injury that requires emergency care. Always seek medical help after any trauma to the head.
Immediately after a concussion, metabolic changes occur that make the brain more susceptible to further brain cell damage from a secondary injury. There is no medication or procedure to heal the brain so that the patient can get right back to their daily activities immediately following a concussion.
Concussion treatment starts with rest for the body and the brain. Individuals who experience a concussion should cut back on their activities, including work, school, and household chores.
Mentally taxing tasks should be avoided, particularly those that require decision-making, quick reaction time, and short-term memory. These include everything from paying bills and playing sports, to looking at screens and cooking a meal.
Depending upon the patient’s symptoms, safe, approved activities are gradually introduced over time. The ability to get proper cognitive and physical rest are two key factors that determine the patient’s recovery.
Complications of Concussions and Other TBI
While concussion symptoms are generally temporary, they can impact brain function in ways that affect one’s quality of life forever. Without sufficient recovery time, concussion symptoms can worsen or take longer to subside. Also, a second concussion can occur with weaker impact if the brain has not had sufficient time to recover.
Someone with post-concussion syndrome has symptoms that persist after the initial concussive event. Mood disorders, sleep problems, and other symptoms of post-concussion syndrome can have a long-lasting impact on a person’s quality of life. It is estimated that one in 10 people who have a concussion go on to experience post-concussion syndrome.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative medical condition caused by multiple concussions. At this time, it has only been detected in the brains of boxers and football players. Research is being done to assess the risk of CTE among the general population.
Is Compensation for Concussion Treatment Possible After a Car Accident?
The physical and emotional toll of a serious head injury are clear. But what about the added financial burden of medical bills, lost income, and property damage after car accident injuries?
If your healthcare provider confirms your concussion symptoms were caused by your car accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim for damages.
In addition to standard economic costs for doctor bills, physical therapy, and other care, you may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. You must show how concussion symptoms affect your health and well-being with verification from physicians and other experts.
Challenges Facing Concussion Claims
Unlike an obvious bodily injury like a broken arm, concussion symptoms are less obvious, meaning that they are more challenging to prove. This is where a skilled car accident lawyer is a great asset.
If you are involved in any type of auto accident, it is essential to save any documentation related to your case. As we have discussed, concussion symptoms are not always immediately apparent, and they can increase in severity over time.
Even if you feel okay the day of the crash, it is possible to develop symptoms later. The police report, medical records, accident scene photos, and witness testimony are like the pieces of a puzzle, that when connected, tell the story of how your accident caused your concussion and the symptoms that affect your life today.
When in doubt, save everything related to your accident and share it with your lawyer. That helps your legal team build a compelling case for fair compensation for your injuries.
Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Injured Clients Throughout Delaware
A traumatic brain injury is a life-changing medical condition. If have questions about your legal options after a TBI, trust our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for guidance. Call us at (302) 427-9500 or inquire online to schedule a free case review today. With offices in every county, we serve clients throughout the state of Delaware.