How to Recognize Signs of a Concussion After a Car Accident

Woman got headache, sign of concussion from the car crash.

Whenever vehicles collide, the potential for injury is always present, even in minor fender-benders. The impact of a collision often results in a head injury, the most common of which is a concussion.

Many people who have been in a car accident are uncertain whether they have suffered a concussion. What are the signs of a concussion? It is important to be able to recognize them. Anyone who has been in a car accident must consider the potential for a concussion and be alert for the symptoms.

They include:

  • Dizziness or dazed feeling
  • Ears ringing
  • Foggy thinking
  • Problems with concentration
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Pressure in the head
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Amnesia about the accident
  • Fatigue

Can you get a concussion in a minor car accident?

Many people associate concussions with physical activities such as boxing, football, and other contact sports. Concussions are very common in motor vehicle accidents as well. A car driver or passenger may experience a head injury even in a relatively minor accident.

A concussion is usually considered a mild brain injury, but in certain cases, it can be a sign of a more serious injury. If left untreated, the damage to the brain can lead to more serious issues. An untreated traumatic brain injury can lead to lifelong disability or even death. In fact, a third of all accident-related deaths are due at least in part to traumatic brain injuries.

Can you get a concussion without hitting your head?

While concussions are common in car crashes because it is easy to hit your head on the steering wheel, windshield, dashboard, side window, or other surfaces, the assumption that your head has to hit something to get a concussion is incorrect. A brain injury can occur as a result of the force of the brain being jostled around inside the skull, without any contact with an outside object.

How do you test for a concussion?

Depending on the circumstances of the crash and the injury to the brain, the symptoms could be severe and immediately noticeable, or they may be minor and go undetected for a period of time following the collision.

A severe concussion in a car accident may leave the victim unconscious for a short time. The period of unconsciousness can be just a moment, or it may be several minutes or longer. The longer a person is unconscious, the more severe the trauma to the brain is likely to be.

Even a few seconds of unconsciousness is a sign that some trauma has occurred to the brain. In extremely severe cases, the victim may experience a seizure while unconscious.

A person may report “seeing stars” or notice a ringing in their ear. They may start slurring their speech, struggle to answer questions quickly, or suddenly feel very fatigued.

Less obvious signs may appear immediately after the crash, or they may take a few days to become evident. These include nausea and headaches. Headaches will likely worsen and may come with a loss of balance or blurry vision. The person may also have trouble sleeping or experience a change in their usual mood, becoming more irritable or anxious without any obvious cause.

Another commonly-reported symptom is temporary memory loss or confusion. This may be noticeable shortly after the crash, or it may take several days to realize that certain dates or facts are confused or have been forgotten.

If you have been in a car accident, it is always advisable to visit a doctor to get a complete and thorough checkup. This includes testing for concussion symptoms. Be sure to tell the doctor that you have been in a collision.

Your doctor should know how to perform the proper tests to diagnose whether you have a concussion. If you do have a concussion, the doctor will likely recommend you allow your brain to rest. This will mean spending less time reading, watching TV, playing video games, using your phone, and working or going to school. In most cases, this will allow the brain to heal gradually over the coming days, at which point you can slowly return to normal activities again.

What compensation can you get for a concussion?

When you are injured in a car accident caused by another motorist and you develop a concussion as a result, you may be able to get compensation for the costs associated with your injury. That includes compensation for all your medical bills, any lost wages because of the time you were forced to miss work to recover, and any lost future earning capacity if your concussion has long-term consequences to your ability to work. You may be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your concussion and for the emotional trauma of the accident, in certain cases.

Contact a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Today

The South Carolina car accident lawyers at David Blackwell Law want to make sure that you know how to recognize the signs of a concussion and know where to turn for help if you suffered an injury in a crash is caused by another motorist.

If you suffered a concussion in a car accident, help is available to you. You should not have to pay out of pocket for medical bills and other losses that you incur after an accident that was not your fault. Since 2003, David Blackwell and the legal team at David Blackwell Law have helped victims of car accidents in Lancaster, Indian Land, Heath Springs, Fort Mill, and Kershaw pursue full compensation after car accidents and other personal injury accidents. We’re ready to fight for you, so contact us at (803) 232-7274 to schedule a free consultation today.