Would You Know If You Suffered a Brain Injury After A Car Accident?

Have you ever been in a car accident? Even a minor fender bender can cause an undetected brain injury. The scary truth is you may not even realize you have a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, until weeks or months after the accident. A TBI can affect your cognitive abilities, behavior, and quality of life.

You were going about your day when, out of nowhere, bam! Your head slams into the steering wheel or window. At first, you feel rattled but okay. The paramedics check you out, and you seem fine, so you go on with your day. But then strange things start happening. You have pounding headaches that won’t go away. Your memory isn’t as sharp. You feel irritable and quick to anger. Your spouse says you seem “off.”

If this sounds familiar, you could have a TBI from your car accident. The good news is the sooner you get diagnosed and treated, the better your chances of recovery. Don’t ignore the signs or assume you’re just stressed or tired. Talk to your doctor immediately about getting checked for a traumatic brain injury. Your health and future happiness depend on it.

Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

After a car accident, you may feel dazed and confused, but did you suffer a traumatic brain injury? The signs aren’t always obvious. Pay attention to the following symptoms in the days and weeks after your accident:

  • Persistent or worsening headache. A headache right after impact is normal, but if it doesn’t go away or gets more severe, that’s a red flag. See a doctor.
  • Nausea or vomiting. Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up repeatedly could indicate a brain injury.
  • Blurry vision or ringing in the ears. If your vision seems off or you have a ringing or buzzing in your ears that doesn’t subside, you may have a concussion or more serious brain trauma.
  • Slurred speech or confusion. Trouble speaking clearly, understanding what others are saying, or feeling confused, dazed or disoriented are potential signs of a brain injury.
  • Memory loss. Forgetting details of the accident itself or struggling to remember events from before or after the crash could point to a traumatic brain injury.
  • Changes in mood or behavior. Feeling irritable, sad or anxious or acting in ways that are out of character for you could indicate damage to the areas of your brain that control emotions and behavior.

If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately for an evaluation and diagnosis. A traumatic brain injury can have lasting effects, so getting the proper treatment and rest is critical. Don’t ignore the signs—your brain health and recovery depend on it.

How Serious Is My Brain Injury? Mild, Moderate or Severe?

So you were in a car accident and hit your head. Now you’re worried you may have a brain injury. The severity can range from mild to severe, so how do you know which one you have?

A mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is when you experience a brief change in mental status after the accident, like feeling dazed, confused or disoriented. You may have also lost consciousness for a few seconds to minutes. The good news is that most mild TBIs heal independently in a few days to weeks with rest and over-the-counter pain medication. However, look for persistent or worsening symptoms that could indicate a more serious injury.

A moderate TBI is when you lose consciousness for a longer period, from minutes to hours, or experience memory loss around the time of the accident. You’ll likely experience headaches, dizziness, and trouble concentrating or making decisions. Recovery can take weeks to months and may require rehabilitation and therapy.

A severe TBI is the most dangerous. If you experienced an extended loss of consciousness for hours or days, had seizures or convulsions, or required surgery to relieve pressure on the brain, you have likely suffered a severe TBI. Recovery is long and intensive, involving physical, occupational and speech therapy. Some symptoms may be permanent.

The severity of your TBI depends on the nature of the impact and forces involved in your accident and the length of time you were unconscious or experienced memory loss. It’s best to see your doctor immediately for an accurate diagnosis and to get on the road to recovery as soon as possible. The sooner treatment starts, the better your chances are for regaining your abilities and improving your quality of life after a brain injury.

Diagnosing a Traumatic Brain Injury

Signs and Symptoms

After a car accident, you may experience signs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) like:

  • Loss of consciousness or being dazed and confused after the accident. Even brief loss of consciousness should be checked out.
  • Memory loss surrounding the accident. You may not remember events leading up to or following the accident.
  • Persistent or worsening headache. A headache that does not go away or gets more severe can indicate a brain bleed or other TBI.
  • Nausea or vomiting. Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up repeatedly after a head injury requires emergency care.
  • Dilated pupils or blurred vision. Changes in pupil size or difficulty focusing your eyes could signal damage to the brain or eyes.
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms and legs. Losing sensation or control of your limbs may indicate a spinal cord or brain injury.
  • Slurred speech or difficulty speaking. Problems communicating can point to a brain injury and require prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnostic Tests

If a TBI is suspected based on your symptoms, your doctor will order diagnostic tests like:

  • CT or MRI scans to check for bleeding in the brain, skull fractures, or other structural damage.
  • EEG to measure brain wave activity and check for seizure activity or decreased brain function.
  • Neuropsychological testing assesses memory, problem-solving, and cognitive abilities, which a TBI may impair.
  • Blood tests to check for other conditions that could be causing symptoms like low blood sugar, electrolyte imbalance or anemia.

Early diagnosis and treatment of a TBI are critical to preventing or minimizing permanent brain damage. Seek emergency care immediately if you experience any symptoms of a traumatic brain injury following an accident. Prompt diagnosis and management can make a life-changing difference in your recovery and long-term prognosis.

If You Have Been Involved in an Accident Resulting in Brain Injury

If you’ve been in a car accident, you first need to get checked out by a doctor, even if you feel fine. Traumatic brain injuries can be difficult to detect on your own and may not show symptoms right away. Seeking medical care promptly is critical, as early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent long-term problems.

If a brain injury is diagnosed, you’ll want to get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer to understand your legal options for pursuing compensation. Medical bills, lost wages, and long-term care costs can be substantial after a traumatic brain injury.

Call the law offices of Frankl Kominsky, serving Stuart, Florida, at (561) 800-8000 for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer. They have successfully represented clients with brain injuries for years.

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