Concussions are serious injuries where the brain and head move quickly back and forth. This causes the brain to bounce around inside the skull, sometimes resulting in damaged brain cells. Someone gets a concussion every 13 seconds around the world. While many of these concussions occur as a result of sports injuries or falls, a significant portion occur due to auto accidents. It is vital to know whether you got a concussion from a car accident, so you can anticipate future medical expenses. You need to see a doctor shortly after the collision, and you also need to keep an eye out for the most common signs of a concussion following the incident.
You Develop Disruptions in Your Sleeping Patterns
Over 40 million Americans suffer from some kind of chronic sleep problem. If you did not have a problem going to bed before an accident but now have constant sleep disturbances, then it could be a sign of a traumatic brain injury. It is paramount to remedy the cause of the sleep disorder because it can worsen a person’s mood and lead to a substantial drop in work performance. You need to see a doctor if you suspect you have any of the following.
- Narcolepsy: Going to sleep uncontrollably and suddenly during the day
- Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome: Having mixed-up sleeping patterns
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Experiencing extreme drowsiness when you are normally awake
- Insomnia: Having trouble falling and staying asleep, or experiencing sleep that fails to make you rested in the morning
- Sleepwalking: Performing certain activities when you are asleep and not aware of what you are doing
- Periodic Limb Movement Disorder: Moving your arms and legs involuntarily while you sleep
- Sleep Apnea: Suffering from pauses in your breathing during sleep, which can cause frequent awakening and loud snoring
- Bruxism: Clenching or grinding your teeth during sleep
- Restless Leg Syndrome: Moving your legs constantly because you feel uncomfortable otherwise
You should talk to your doctor to see if medication can help you sleep better. You may also want to consider lifestyle changes. If you find yourself sleeping a lot after a car accident during the day, then you should try to avoid naps. You will be able to rest better if you actually feel tired at the end of the day.
You Lost Consciousness Immediately After the Crash
A momentary loss of consciousness can accompany a concussion following a car accident. Some people will pass out for up to one minute immediately after a collision of such magnitude. However, it is paramount to be aware that a loss of consciousness is not always indicative of a traumatic brain injury.
It is a myth that 100 percent of concussions come with a loss of consciousness. In fact, some reports estimate that as many as 90 percent of concussions do not come with any passing out. In one study monitoring 107 participants who suffered from a concussion, only two of them reported any loss of consciousness. Additionally, this did not result in longer recovery time for those two participants. You may have sustained a concussion after a car accident and not even realize it. That is why you should always see a doctor even if you feel fine immediately after a collision.
You Experience Headaches That Will Not Go Away
Headaches are prevalent after concussions. You may start experiencing them a few hours after the initial collision. These are not ordinary headaches that go away after taking some Tylenol. Some people will develop post-concussion syndrome, which consists of headaches, photophobia and dizziness. Others will come down with post-traumatic headaches, which are headaches or migraines that last for a minimum of three months. You are more likely to suffer from more extreme headaches if you are older, female or have a familial history of headache disorders.
You need to seek treatment for these headaches as quickly as possible. Numerous people will maintain these headaches for between three and six months. As many as one quarter of concussion sufferers will have these headaches consistently for up to one year. For treatment, you will need to identify any triggers that cause migraines. You may also want to explore alternative therapies, such as meditation, to find relief.
You Have Ringing in the Ears or See Stars
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, often occurs when the inner ear becomes damaged. It is typically the result of the brain attempting but failing to repair itself. Currently, it is impossible to cure tinnitus, but people can take steps to make the condition more manageable. Some people will find relief by avoiding loud areas. In the event tinnitus is preventing you from going to sleep at night, then you should try using a white noise machine. You may also want to avoid certain medication because some drugs can worsen the condition.
Seeing stars may also occur after a brain injury. Although it is commonly used in cartoons to show when a character gets bonked in the head, it can occur in real life. You may see stars after rubbing your eyes in the morning, and this is due to applying pressure to the retinas. A similar, but more severe, event occurs when your brain strikes your skull due to a concussion from a car accident.
You Experience Chronic Seizures
One out of every 10 individuals who suffer from traumatic brain injuries will require hospitalization for seizures. The reasons seizures occur is that a scar has formed on the brain. You and people you live with need to be able to identify the signs of a seizure, so they know what to do. The most common symptoms of seizures include:
- Sudden dizziness or tiredness
- Fumbling, lip smacking or chewing movements
- Staring and unresponsiveness
- Strange movements in the eyes, legs, arms and head, such as shaking or stiffening
- Not being able to talk
People in the vicinity need to keep track of how long the seizure takes place. Someone should keep the sufferer on his or her side until the seizure goes away. This is to keep the airway clear. No one should attempt to stop the movements or hold the person down during this time. Certain medications have been found to help people who suffer from seizures frequently.
You Often Feel Nauseous
One of the more immediate symptoms of a concussion from a car accident is nausea and vomiting. Many people will vomit the first few days after the collision. Constant vomiting is a telltale sign an injury has occurred to the brain and that the person needs immediate medical attention.
For many people, this nausea is a result of damage to the vestibular system. This is the part of the body between the brain and inner ear that help controls eye movements and balance. When this area gets damaged, the person may experience a sense of vertigo, which comes with nausea.
You Suffer From Constant Mood Changes
Brain damage can alter the very essence of a person. Some people have a tough time coping with the symptoms of a concussion because they feel more overwhelmed, worried, tense or nervous. Some people will feel more anxious or depressed due to all the other symptoms they have to deal with like constant headaches.
People in worse moods after a car accident can take steps to feel better. They should set up daily routines, so anything out of the ordinary does not affect them. You need to get enough sleep and eat good, healthy meals. Some doctors recommend keep track of your emotions. You may be able to identify triggers that cause you to feel stressed.
You Experience Amnesia and Confusion
In the months that follow the car accident, some people will experience amnesia, which takes different forms. There is retrograde amnesia. This is characterized by a total or partial inability to recall memories in the hours, days, months or years before the injury. There is also anterograde amnesia, which manifests in the inability for the sufferer to form new memories after the car accident. A doctor will need to test for amnesia, such as performing a concentration test, immediate memory test or orientation test.
Even if the person does not suffer from amnesia, he or she may still appear more confused in day-to-day life. This can manifest itself in the person not being able to maintain a comprehensible stream of thought. The person cannot carry out the necessary sequence of movements to perform a task. Finally, the person easily becomes distracted. All of this is cause for concern, and loved ones should look out for them after a person has been in a car accident.
You Need Legal Assistance
Many of the symptoms of a concussion are cognitive, not physical. Even if you feel fine immediately following an auto accident, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible. Treatments are available to help you overcome the symptoms of a concussion so that you can lead a full, normal life. You also need to hire an attorney right away so that you can try to seek damages for your medical expenses.
If you have been injured in a Palm Beach County car accident, I encourage you to contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally to discuss your legal rights. To learn how the injury team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injuries, call (561) 513-4957 now. Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.