Considered a mild form of traumatic brain injury, a concussion occurs when a person experiences a sudden blow or direct bump to the head. When the soft tissues in the brain that are encased in spinal fluid are jolted, some degree of bruising, damage to the blood vessels, and nerve injury can result.
Concussions are a fairly common car accident injury, and most people will recover without complications. However, those who experience ongoing headaches, vertigo, and cognitive difficulties are entitled to full compensation for the harm they’ve suffered due to the negligent driver’s actions.
Symptoms of a Concussion
The signs of a concussion vary from person and person and may not appear immediately. They can persist for days, weeks, or even months. Anyone with a suspected head injury needs a prompt medical evaluation, even if they currently feel fine.
Someone with a concussion may experience:
- Memory loss
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Slurred speech
When a concussion is suspected, a doctor will perform a neurological examination that looks at the patient’s vision, hearing, strength, balance, coordination, and reflexes. This is typically followed by tests to check memory, concentration, and other cognitive skills. An MRI or CT scan may be needed when the symptoms include severe headaches, vomiting, and/or seizures.
The primary treatment for a concussion is rest. Physical and mental rest gives the brain time to heal. Patients are typically told to gradually return to their normal routine and to contact their doctor if specific activities continue to trigger symptoms.
Someone with a severe concussion may be hospitalized overnight for observation. However, most people are allowed to go home if they have someone who can watch them for at least 24 hours to make sure their symptoms aren’t worsening. When observation is conducted at home, it is important to make sure the person with a concussion does not have dilated pupils, can walk without difficulty, and is able to carry on a conversation.
Most people who suffer a concussion in a car accident start to feel better in seven to 10 days and are fully recovered within three to four weeks, assuming they have been following their care provider’s recommendation to refrain from physical and mental activity to give the brain time to heal. However, about 20% of people with concussions experience lingering complications.
Post-traumatic headaches and vertigo that interfere with the activities of daily living are the most common concussion complications. Vertigo, severe headaches, and cognitive difficulties that persist beyond three months can be a sign of a condition known as post-concussion syndrome. Psychotherapy and prescription medication are most often used to treat post-concussion syndrome. People with concussion complications may see a neurologist to manage their care.
Anyone can experience lingering complications from a concussion. However, children, teens, and young adults appear to be the most likely to make a full recovery. Women, older adults, and people who’ve experienced previous concussions have a higher than average risk of developing complications.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
Concussion complications can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life. In addition to making it difficult to work, they can affect the ability to care for children, manage household tasks, and enjoy favorite hobbies or special interests. All of these factors should be considered when determining appropriate compensation.
If you’ve suffered a concussion after being in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you’re entitled to compensation for all accident-related expenses. This includes medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Keeping copies of all bills and invoices related to the accident, as well as a journal outlining your concussion-related symptoms, can help you receive the maximum possible compensation. Your attorney may also recommend consulting a medical expert who can testify about the effects of post-concussion syndrome.
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