Auto accidents and concussions go hand-in-hand. Sadly, too many car accident victims experience mild to severe concussions and might not know about the condition for a day or more thereafter. This is because of a common misconception that those who experience a concussion will always lose consciousness. But you don't have to be knocked-out cold to suffer a concussion. You might not even experience a lapse in memory, but are unable to recall what happened right before the accident. What's more, people who suffer a concussion might not have outward, visible head injuries, like cuts and bruises.
Auto Accidents and Concussions
What's most important to understand is the brain becomes more susceptible to further injury after a concussion.
This is why professional athletes sit out games after experiencing concussions. It's to give the brain time to rest and recover from trauma. The consequences of suffering a concussion vary greatly from individual to individual. So, it's better to be safe than sorry. However, this doesn't mean the brain will recover entirely. It's possible to experience post-traumatic seizure as many as 10 or 15 years after suffering a concussion.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. Although there may be cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of a brain injury. --WebMD.com
The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both warn auto accidents are among the most common causes of concussions. In such situations, the soft tissue brain strikes the interior of the skull. The severity of concussions is categorized into three grades:
- Grade I concussions result in no loss of consciousness and amnesia does or does not occur in less than 30 minutes time.
- Grade II concussions result in a loss of consciousness for a period of 5 minutes or less and amnesia occurs within 30 minutes to 24 hours.
- Grade III concussions result in a loss of consciousness for more than 5 minutes and/or amnesia for more than 24 hours.
Concussion symptoms include headache, difficulty in sleeping or sleeping too much, fatigue, confusion, difficulty concentrating, inability to remember new information, slow reflexes, muscle spasms, irritability, nervousness, anxiety, vomiting, blurry vision, dizziness, arm and/or shoulder stiffness, noise sensitivity, and light sensitivity.
What to Do if You Think You've Suffered a Concussion
Unfortunately, there isn't always big, telltale signs a person suffered a concussion. The symptoms may appear right away or over the course of a few days. If you experience the above named symptoms, or any other unusual symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. If possible, following any auto accident, you should document the scene with notes and pictures. Make sure you write down or photograph the car license plate. Also speak to any witnesses and get their names and contact information, as well as the name and contact information of the other driver, including license number. Call the police or sheriff's department to obtain an accident report. Then, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not feel hurt or have visible injuries, you need a professional medical examination. Concussions are known as late-appearing injuries, meaning symptoms do not manifest until hours or days after an accident. If you do suffer a concussion, chances are good you'll experience one or more physical, emotional, or mental effects (like those listed above). This is why it is so important to undergo a professional medical examination after being involved in a car crash, no matter how minor. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident resulting in a concussion, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You need to learn about your legal rights and if you might be entitled to compensation. Don't wait, time is definitely not on your side.