Recently, there has been a lot of focus and studies on head injuries. Popular issues, such as head injuries suffered by professional athletes and military soldiers, have prompted more in depth research of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and their long-term effects. We have seen an increase in diagnoses of head injuries and concussions suffered in motor vehicle accidents. The issues we have noticed with head injuries from accidents, however, are that a lot of accident victims are not aware of the signs and symptoms of a head injury and tend to disregard them as minor injuries. This is a big mistake.
Overview of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. A concussion is a very common type of TBI. A concussion is caused by a blow to the head that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This rapid movement can cause the brain to bounce around in the skull and can create chemical changes in the brain and possibly damage to the brain cells.
While a concussion is frequently referred to as a mild brain injury, recent studies seem to be changing this characterization. Concussions are now treated more as a serious injury. This is because of the long-term effects of TBIs and concussions. While studies show that the vast majority of concussion victims will recover within two to three weeks with no long-term effects, those people who do not allow their brain to heal before a possible re-injury are at greater risk of long-term and possibly permanent consequences.
TBIs are increasingly more common. Motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths (14%). Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 5.3 million Americans are currently living with long-term or permanent mental and physical impairments as a result of a TBI.
Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion Following an Accident
You may have suffered a TBI or concussion if you have been involved in a car accident and are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Headache or "pressure" in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Do not "feel right"
Likewise, if a family member or friend is showing the following signs or symptoms, he or she may have suffered a head injury or concussion:
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about normal assignments
- Is forgetful
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Shows behavior or personality changes
- Can't recall events prior to the accident
- Can't recall events after the accident
If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone else, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Get Medical Attention Right Away if You've Been in a Car Accident
If you were involved in a car crash or other type of accident, struck your head, and are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you should see a doctor right away. Head injuries can be extremely frustrating and frightening. There may be things that you have trouble doing after the accident that you normally had no problem doing before. There are medical professionals that can help.
Your primary care physician should be able to refer you to a doctor with special training in the treatment of head injuries and concussions. Medical professionals, such as neurologists, neuropsychologists, and neurosurgeons, are all specialists that may be able to help. Getting medical treatment soon after an accident may speed up your recovery.
Make sure you thoroughly explain the symptoms you are experiencing, both physically and mentally, to your doctors. Also, be sure to follow their recommendations. If you feel that you are not getting better, tell your doctors and continue your treatment.
Insurance Companies Tend to Minimize Concussions
A victim can be compensated for the financial losses, pain and suffering from a concussion or head injury suffered in an accident that was caused by someone else. The amount of compensation depends on a number of different factors.
One important factor is the continued and consistent treatment with a medical professional. If an accident victim is diagnosed with a concussion and suffers from serious after effects, but doesn’t follow up with his or her doctors or treat for the injury, an insurance company will minimize the seriousness of the injury. They will contend that the injury and resulting pain and suffering is not too severe because if it was, the accident victim would have treated more often or more consistently. In a personal injury case, the insurance company is going to credit what is documented in medical records. If you don’t see your doctor and explain your symptoms of the head injury or concussion, you may be negatively affecting your personal injury claim.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek medical attention to get a proper diagnosis, treatment plan and to be sure you get the fair and just financial compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Speak to Our Experienced Framingham Car Accident Attorneys
If you, or someone you know, suffered a head injury or concussion in a motor vehicle accident, feel free to contact us with any questions or to find out what your legal rights are. To schedule a free appointment and case evaluation, call us at 508-879-3500, or contact us online. We are happy to help and answer your questions.