Ignoring one can impact your settlement.
If you’re a sports fan like us, you’re very familiar with the frequency and long term side effects of concussions. As you may already know, concussions and other Traumatic Brain Injuries [TBIs] are not exclusive to sports. Traumatic brain injuries occur every 15 seconds [a], with 14.3% of them the direct result of motor vehicle accidents [b]. We talk and work with medical professionals weekly, and the question they continue to hear is, “How do I know if I have a concussion?”. You may be wondering the same thing, and since you already trust us as the go-to for legal advice and representation, we put together this list of 7 signs that you may have a concussion from a car accident [be sure to print the PDF at the bottom of the page and keep it in your car].
Before you read the list, please keep in mind two things. One, symptoms of concussions and other TBIs are not easily diagnosed and you may not experience side effects for hours, or even days. Two, please also refer to and print out our 5 Actions You Should Take After You’ve Been in a Car Accident, because it’s imperative that you do not wait until you experience symptoms of a concussion before you call a personal injury attorney and visit a medical professional.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, or a loved one witnesses you exercising one or more of these symptoms, use our printed sheet to record them as they occur and share the document with your doctor and lawyer.
- You woke up after the crash occurred. This does not include falling asleep at the wheel, but it’s an important observation to make. Several car crash victims who were diagnosed with concussions woke up after the accident occurred, usually accompanied by brain fog and a fuzzy short-term memory. While not as common as the next side effect, it should be documented.
- Nausea and Headaches. This is not your seasonal nausea or headache that can be remedied by taking NyQuil or popping an Aleve. Concussion victims experience these symptoms almost instantly after suffering their injury, especially those that are deemed most severe. The vomiting and headaches will at first seem never-ending, requiring that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Your vision and hearing is impaired. Seeing stars, the same “stars” you see after you rub your eyes, or a constant ringing in your ears can indicate that you’ve experienced a concussion. The latter of the two may be more indicative of a concussion, especially if the ringing doesn’t wane over time.
- Confusion and Amnesia. Confusion and amnesia can be both obvious and ambiguous. This is one of the side effects that may be better observed by a third party like a loved one or a coworker. How a concussion sufferer experiences amnesia may differ. There are victims who have a hard time recollecting memories before the concussion, and there are victims who have a hard time recalling new memories after the concussion. Be sure to share this symptom with your doctor as there is a series of tests they will want to run to further diagnose your concussion.
- Low Quality Sleep Patterns or Insomnia. While millions of people experience some form of a sleep issue, it’s important to document preexisting sleep issues, especially if it has lessened or worsened. Concussions can move you to both ends of the sleep spectrum, from insomnia to constant sleepiness and narcolepsy. Other common concussion side effects include sleep apnea, uneven sleeping patterns, and grinding teeth which may result in a sore jaw or added head pain.
- Mood Swings and Changes. This is another sign that is best observed and recorded by a third party. A victim’s mood may change based on the added pressures and stresses of the accident, or it may change because of damage to the part of the brain that controls emotions and behaviors.
- Seizures. Similar to side effects related to your sleep, previous experiences of seizures should be shared with your doctor, especially if you’re planning on visiting a Neurologist. Concussions can form scars on the brain, which is one of the more common causal factors for a single or series of seizures post car accident. If you haven’t experienced a seizure but you want to be precautious, be sure to share with your loved ones and coworkers the following: help me to the floor, rest me on my side, clear the surrounding area, place something soft under my head.