Should I Get Checked for a Concussion After a Car Accident?
People go days after a car accident before seeking medical attention for their injuries. Many people suffer concussions during car accidents and never receive a proper medical diagnosis nor treatment. A concussion describes the symptoms associated with a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI). Not only is it unsafe to go untreated, but you may undervalue your personal injury claim.
A concussion occurs when your brain bounces back and forth inside of your skull. This can be caused by any blunt force trauma to the head such as being struck by an object, sports injuries, falls, car accidents, and especially truck accidents. Please remember that you can still suffer a concussion without hitting your head.
It is can be a very serious injury that greatly increases the value of your personal injury claim against the at-fault driver or even your uninsured motorist carrier. Concussions have much more disturbing long-term effects than injuries suffered during routine car accident injuries like broken bones and soft-tissue injuries that can be fixed in short periods of time. It is often overlooked because it cannot be seen or easily diagnosed, but the at-fault driver’s insurance company know the long-last effects of these injuries and often pay large sums of money to settle.
Go see a doctor ASAP – do not call an attorney referral service
Thousands of people make the mistake of calling so-called attorney referral services hoping to get the medical attention they need and the legal help they want. Unfortunately, many services refer clients to medical providers who are neither qualified nor capable of screening patients for concussions and other brain injuries.
What’s even worse is that some providers fail to refer their patients to the appropriate doctor even after recognizing concussion symptoms. These providers fear losing their patients to a new doctor who will exhaust all the available insurance coverage.
If you believe that you or a loved one suffered any head injury during an accident go to the emergency room. The emergency room physicians have the skills, experience, and tools needed to properly diagnose a concussion and check for more serious brain injuries. These emergency room physicians will refer you to a brain injury specialist if necessary.
Which type of doctor should I go to?
Although almost all medical doctors are trained to recognize and diagnose concussions, several types of physicians specialize in identifying and treating concussions and other neurological disorders. Like I said before, the first place you should go after suffering a head injury is to the emergency room. However, if you would like to go directly to a specialist, these include:
- Neurologists – these doctors are trained to diagnose and treat neurological disorders and injuries like concussions. This is likely the first doctor you will be referred to after suffering any significant head injury like a concussion.
- Neurosurgeons – this doctor performs surgery on the brain and nerves. Although concussions rarely require surgical intervention neurosurgeons can be very helpful when dealing with more severe concussions that requires advanced image studies. Often, neurosurgeons are called to stop bleeding in the brain that comes with more serious head injuries.
- Clinical Neuropsychologists and Neuropsychiatrists – a psychologist or psychiatrist who has advanced training in how brain injuries can affect behavior. They can determine whether, and to what extent, your concussion has disrupted your ability to function normally. Neuropsychologists and neuropsychiatrists can be very helpful in both diagnosing a concussion and strategizing a plan of treatment including medication, therapy, and even surgery.
- Clinical Neurophysiologists – normally you will be referred to a neurophysiologist after being diagnosed with a concussion or other brain injury. They specialize in testing the electrical functions of your brain and identifying abnormalities.
How can a doctor tell if I suffered a concussion?
Your doctor will use both physical examinations and testing including neurologic examinations, cognitive testing, physical observation, and imaging including MRI and CT scans. Diagnosing a concussion is more difficult than diagnosing other illnesses and disorders that can be discovered through a simple blood test. Doctors use MRI and CT scans to screen for more serious brain injuries that require immediate medical intervention like skull fractures, hemorrhaging, edema, and diffuse axonal injuries.
Symptoms to watch for
The symptoms can vary greatly and can take days to manifest. These symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises
- General confusion
- Taking longer to respond and engage in conversations that normally flow easily
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness and trouble maintaining balance
- Neck and shoulder pain due to whiplash
- Trouble sleeping
- Irritability and unexplained mood swings
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of consciousness during the accident
Many symptoms can cause anxiety and lead to depression and other mental health problems if left untreated. If the symptoms persist over 3 weeks after the accident, there is a high probability of post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
What is post-concussion syndrome (PCS)?
Post-concussion syndrome occurs when symptoms persist for weeks to months after the injury. Older people and individuals with pre-existing brain conditions are at much greater risk of developing PCS after suffering a head injury. The PCS symptoms typically manifest within a week of the accident.
What if I’ve suffered a concussion in the past?
There’s a reason all major sports leagues have such stringent concussion protocols for head injuries. If you suffer a second or third concussion before the prior concussion has healed, you risk second impact syndrome (SIS). Although it is rare with motor vehicle accident victims, it can present issues for young athletes who fail to rest after suffering a concussion. SIS is so dangerous that it can cause an otherwise healthy person to die two to five minutes after impact.
Are there different types of concussions?
There are three types of concussions:
Mild – Grade 1 concussion
The least serious type of concussion. Mild concussions produce symptoms like headache, nausea and unbalance. Memory loss does not occur nor does any loss of consciousness. The symptoms persist for roughly 15 to 30 minutes after the injury.
Moderate – Grade 2 concussion
Like a mild concussion but with more severe symptoms that can last up to a day after the injury. Moderate concussions often result from injuries that cause short periods of loss of consciousness.
Severe – Grade 3 concussion
The most serious type of concussion. Severe concussions often follow longer period of loss of consciousness. The symptoms can last for several days or even weeks after the accident. Grade 3 concussions are often the result of moderate traumatic brain damage and require careful observation and treatment.
What if I didn’t hit my head?
Although blunt force trauma is the most common cause of concussion symptoms, there are other causes. A concussion describes your symptoms after some external force causes your brain to violently move inside of your skull. Many individuals suffer concussions as the result of whiplash during a car accident as the brain jerks inside of the skill.
How can a Miami personal injury attorney help you?
If you or a loved one suffered a concussion or any other traumatic brain injury work with highly trained physicians and lawyers. At the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, we understand the devastating and long-term effects of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. We also know how to maximize your compensation while making sure that you get the best care available. Call today for a free and confidential consultation with Miami personal injury attorney Prosper Shaked at (305) 690-0244. We can also be reached through our live chat option or by filling out the form to your right.