The injuries a person sustains during a car accident can be life-changing. While fortunate individuals walk away with bumps and bruises, people in severe car crashes may end up with broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, or worse. According to Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were 385,221 accidents in Georgia in 2015. Nearly 20,000 of those accidents resulted in serious injuries.
One of the more concerning injuries a person can sustain after a car wreck is a concussion. It’s important to know what to do after a car accident if you’ve be diagnosed with a concussion. A healthcare professional will be able to help you establish the severity of the concussion and guide your treatment.
What Is a Concussion?
In order to understand what you should do if you’ve sustained a concussion after a car wreck, you may benefit from understanding what a concussion is. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. It is caused by a bump or hit to the head that causes the head and brain to rapidly move back and forth. As a result, the brain may bounce or twist in the skull. When this movement occurs, chemical changes in the brain occur. In some instances, brains cells may be stretched or damaged.
While you may hear concussions described as a mild brain injury, the effects can be serious. The mild term is often used because concussions are generally not life-threatening. It’s important to understand that every brain injury is different. If you have a concussion, you may experience symptoms right away or they may not show up for days or weeks.
After a car accident, you should also seek medical treatment to ensure your health is optimal; however, if you choose not to and notice new symptoms as the days pass, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
What Are the Signs of a Concussion?
While everyone experiences a concussion differently, there are similarities in the signs that help victims and doctors identify the injury.
Loss of Consciousness. Car accident victims may lose consciousness if they hit their head on the steering wheel, windshield, or other object. Regardless of how long the unconscious episode lasts, the brain has suffered trauma. This is one of the most common signs of a concussion.
Tinnitus. If you hit your head hard enough in an auto accident, you may experience ringing in your ears. This is called tinnitus. You may also experience vision changes.
Headaches. If you have a headache after an accident that won’t go away, continues to get worse, or is accompanied by blurry vision, you may be suffering from a concussion.
Nausea. If you hit your head and begin to feel nauseous, dizzy, or have a sensitivity to light, a concussion is likely.
Confusion or Amnesia. While this symptom usually takes a few days to manifest, you may begin to realize you can’t remember specific things. You may be confused about dates and times, or you may have difficulty concentrating.
Disturbed Sleep. If you’re sleeping considerably more or less after an accident and you don’t believe it’s related to psychological trauma, you may have a brain injury.
Mood Changes. Because concussions change the chemicals in the brain, you may begin to experience anger, anxiety, nervousness, or irritability for no identifiable reason.
While the signs above are indicative of an average concussion, an individual suffering from a more severe concussion may also experience seizures, the inability to wake up, or slurred speech. It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice you’re experiencing any of the signs above after hitting your head in a car crash.
How Are Concussions Treated?
Being diagnosed with a concussion after a car accident can be overwhelming and scary. The best course of action to take is to follow the advice of your doctor. In most cases, you’re likely to recover in days, weeks, or a few months. How quickly someone improves generally depends on the severity of the concussion, their age, how healthy they were before the injury, and how well they follow their treatment plan after the injury.
Rest is very important after a concussion because it gives the brain ample time to heal. In addition to resting as often as possible, you may consider taking the following tips into consideration when managing a concussion:
- Avoid contact and recreational sports
- Avoid activities that are physically demanding
- When you have your doctor’s approval, return to your normal activities slowly
- Do not drive, ride a bike, or operate heavy machinery until you have your doctor’s approval
- Talk to your doctor about the right time to return to work
- Avoid prolonged exposure to computer screens
- Consult family members when making important decisions
As the victim of a car accident, it’s likely you’re dealing with additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. At Bey & Associates, our lawyers are prepared to help you reclaim your losses. We’ll help you negotiate with your insurance company, so you receive a full and fair settlement. Contact us today for more information.