In the U.S., road crashes injure and disable 2.35 million people every year. Worse, these accidents claim the lives of more than 37,000 individuals. In Illinois alone, the traffic fatality rate went up 17% in 2017, compared to that of the first half of 2015.
There are, after all, more than 8.05 million licensed drivers who call the state a home. Many of whom drive with distractions, go beyond speed limits, or even drunk. One of whom got you involved in a recent accident.
Which is why you’re now wondering, can concussion symptoms be delayed? You may not have felt anything serious right after the accident. That doesn’t mean you walked away unscathed though.
So… How do you determine if you have concussion? Read on to learn more.
What is Concussion?
A concussion often results from any physical blow to the head. That’s why it’s common amongst those involved in car accidents. Sports accidents and falls are also common causes of this injury.
Concussions fall under traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBI is one of the two types of brain injuries, with acquired brain injuries (ABIs) being the other.
Now, there may only be two types. But TBI alone contributes to the 4,590 lives lost every month due to injuries. People with concussions suffer from a short loss of their brain’s normal functioning.
This injury, much like how whiplash occurs, results from the head moving back and forth in such a short amount of time. Unlike whiplash though, wherein the injury affects only the neck, a concussion also injures the brain.
This rapid and sudden back-and-forth motion can bounce the brain around or twist it within the skull. In any case, both results in brain chemical alterations. In fact, the movement can also stretch the brain cells to the point they suffer from serious damage.
Concussions are often not life-threatening. But they can still lead to serious health problems, especially when accompanied with spinal injuries. Keep in mind that some refer to them as “mild brain injuries,” which should be enough to make you concerned.
You should seek medical attention after any car accident, even if you don’t think your bumps and bruises are that bad. This becomes all the more true if you think you have a concussion from a car accident.
Though most people completely recover from concussions without too many side effects, ignoring the warning signs could result in serious brain injury.
You could end up needing emergency surgery. Or if your case is severe, doctors may even put you in a temporary coma. You don’t want to end up in a situation like that, so make sure you recognize potential symptoms as signs of a concussion from a car accident.
Here are a few ways to tell you might have a concussion and what to do about it:
What Causes a Concussion?
Your brain is surrounded by a liquid called spinal fluid. This fluid protects your brain from bumping against the hard bones in your skull. But when your head slams against something hard, your brain will literally bounce around in your head.
The brain is a soft tissue and this jolting can cause it to tear, bleed, or bruise. Concussions are some of the most common car accident injuries.
A person can sustain a concussion by hitting their head against the steering wheel, the windshield, the back of the seat, or anything else around them.
But I Didn’t Lose Consciousness?
You don’t have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. It can take people hours or even days to realize there’s something wrong if they have a minor concussion.
There are actually three main types of concussions.
Grade 1: You don’t lose consciousness, but you might suffer some temporary memory loss (usually only lasting about 30 minutes).
Grade 2: You do lose consciousness for a few minutes or even seconds, and you suffer memory loss for up to 24 hours.
Grade 3: You lose consciousness and stay unconscious for more than five minutes. With this level of concussion, you may also experience memory loss for two days or longer.
It can be hard for people to recognize concussions because they may not remember hitting their heads during the accident. Most people can recover from a concussion in a week or two. But serious concussions or concussions made worse by lack of attention can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of a Concussion
There are a lot of different symptoms of a concussion and a person may experience all or some of them. The symptoms can even affect your mood, your thinking patterns, and your behaviors.
These indications may appear a few minutes after or months from the injury. The important thing is to not delay diagnosis and treatment. As such, contact a medical professional as soon as you notice your loved one exhibiting any of these signs.
One of the main concussion symptoms are headaches that don’t go away. These headaches may start small and get worse over time or you may have a consistent level of pain. You may notice your vision is wacky.
This could mean you’re seeing stars when you shouldn’t be or that everything you see is blurry. Dizziness could hit you when you’re sitting or standing, and this may make it difficult to walk and balance.
Loud noises will hurt your ears and bright lights will hurt your eyes. You may also feel nauseous or experience vomiting. If you’ve been in a car accident in the last few days and notice any of these symptoms, you probably have a concussion.
You may find it harder than normal to concentrate on a single topic for an extended amount of time. In addition, your favorite hobbies or activities may not interest you as much as they usually do.
Your brain might feel foggy, like you can’t think clearly. Some people may feel like they’re functioning in slow motion.
Even if you didn’t suffer any memory loss at the start of your concussion, you may not be able to remember any new information and you may struggle to recognize faces.
When you have a concussion, your emotions can be sporadic. You may find yourself in moods you aren’t usually in most days. You can get upset or angry easily, maybe without anything triggering the emotions.
You may also experience nervousness or anxiety for seemingly no reason. You could even be constantly sad and emotional.
If your moods don’t match up to your normal personality after a car accident, that is a good sign you should head to the doctor.
These behavior changes will center around sleep. You could feel tired all the time but never be able to get to sleep at night. On the other hand, you may sleep all the time, during the day and night.
Though weird sleep patterns may seem suspicious at first, don’t overlook them, especially if they’re paired with other concussion symptoms.
Can Concussion Symptoms be Delayed?
The simple answer is yes. This type of brain injury has symptoms that can show up days, even weeks or months after it occurred. Once they do appear, they can persist for many days or weeks.
What Are These “Delayed” Symptoms?
Headache, confusion, being in a “daze” and loss of memory (amnesia) are common symptoms of a concussion. These may appear right after the injury, but can also only show up long after the accident.
In any case, make sure you monitor yourself for any of these symptoms. These are often the ones with delayed onset following a car crash.
- Pressure building up in the head
- Fainting spells or loss of consciousness
- A feeling that you’re inside a fog
- “Seeing stars”
- A buzzing, ringing sound in the ears
- Nausea, often accompanied by vomiting
It’s also important to note that slurred speech, as if intoxicated, can happen right after or many days or weeks following a concussion. Another sign you have this brain injury is loss of concentration or problems remembering things.
It’s important to seek immediate medical help if you were in a car accident, whether or not the one at fault is a drunk driver. You should contact your primary physician after you experience these signs of a concussion.
From there, consider contacting a car accident lawyer who can help you file a claim.
Seeking Immediate Diagnosis for a Concussion
Although concussions can be mild, they can still cause long-term damage, especially in people who suffered multiple blows to the head.
To many, these symptoms are more of annoyances. It’s more than that though. Headaches alone cost employers $18 billion in lost productivity every year. Headaches are painful enough and they can already result in loss of income.
What more if you combine these with the other symptoms of concussion? That’s why it’s best to visit a doctor for a concussion diagnosis.
Tell your physician about the events that occurred before, during and after the accident. Share as many details of the symptoms you’ve experienced. This’ll help him/her determine which test you should undergo.
You may have to undergo a concussion eye test, a special type of test designed to discover potential brain injuries. It involves checking for visual changes that a concussion may have resulted in.
Your doctor will check the size of your pupils, abnormal eye movements and sensitivity to light. If you exhibit severe symptoms, a CT scan or MRI scan may be in order. This will let your doctor determine the presence of serious injuries.
If you’ve had seizures, you may also have to undergo an electroencephalogram, which will monitor your brain waves for unusual activities. Once you’re taken care of, call Scott D. DeSalvo Law Office. You may have grounds for a personal injury claim.
Depending on the severity of your concussion, you may also suffer through other injury-related problems, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional trauma
If someone else caused your accident, they may be responsible for paying your medical bills and other expenses.
Is Concussion Treatable?
Although most concussions don’t require hospitalizations for major treatment, some people may need surgery. It depends on the symptoms and how severe they are. For instance, if the exams show bleeding in or swelling of the brain, then this may warrant a surgery.
Doctors also recommend patients who have serious brain injuries to undergo complex medical procedures. If the concussion leads to persistent headaches, ask your doctor about the best over-the-counter pain relievers.
However, keep in mind that long term use of these medications can increase risk of tolerance and dependence. In fact, taking them for more than 30 days can already make you dependent on them.
Why You Should Never Underestimate Concussions
First-time concussions may not be fatal, but multiple ones are. For instance, it’s possible to develop a condition called the second impact syndrome. It’s one of the known concussion implications that can lead to severe swelling of the brain.
Another of the common concussion risks is chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It’s a type of dementia associated with multiple traumatic brain injuries. You may also develop post-concussion syndrome, a long-term complication of concussions.
People who have this suffer from symptoms for an extended period of time (think many weeks, even months!). Concussions can also cause post-traumatic headaches and vertigo, which can affect you for many months.
All these should tell you to take concussions seriously and not treat it as a mere injury. In fact, if you’ve had one, you need as much rest as possible. It’s not recommended to go back to doing strenuous activities or sports right away.
You need to let your brain heal and recuperate. Even after receiving permission to return to work or sports, you should do so in a gradual manner.
Life After a Concussion
For most concussion sufferers, recovery takes several days to a few weeks. But for many others, symptoms can persist for months.
There are even some cases wherein sufferers develop long-lasting physical, mental and emotional problems. Also, once you’ve had a concussion, you’re already at higher risk for permanent brain damage than those who don’t.
The Legal Side of Things
If your concussion occurred due to a car accident, you may receive a call from the insurance company of the other party. They may ask you to sign a claims release. They may even entice you with a cash offer to sign the release forms.
Don’t sign anything yet. Wait for the results of your comprehensive medical evaluation before agreeing to anything. Again, you may not experience the symptoms of a concussion now, but you may in a few weeks.
Signing a release means waiving all your legal rights to push through with a compensation claim. If you sign that release now before all the symptoms of your injury appear, you may end up paying for your treatment with your own money.
That’s a considerable out-of-pocket expense that you shouldn’t even pay for in the first place.
Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer
Concussions that are overlooked and don’t receive proper treatment can result in life-threatening medical conditions. Take care of yourself first by visiting a doctor, but don’t leave the legal side alone either.
Now that you know the answer to the question, “can concussion symptoms be delayed?” you shouldn’t think twice about contacting a personal injury lawyer. This is especially true if you believe you knocked your head multiple times or with so much force during the road accident.
The bottom line is: don’t let another person’s doing affect you, whether in the short term or the long run. If you’ve been in a car accident and you think you have a concussion, I can help with your injury case.
You can request for a free copy of my Injury DVD and Book that covers everything you need to know about concussions and the laws surrounding them. You only need to give me a call anytime of the day through the toll-free number 888-HURT-318 (888-487-8318). You can also contact me at the same number once you’re ready for help to push through with your claim.