Car accidents are terrifying. If you’ve recently had an accident, the terror of that experience may still be fresh for you. And the effects can be far-reaching.
It is no secret that the repercussions in terms of insurance and the like can drag on for months after the accident. But did you know that the health risks can go on almost as long?
Concussions are among the most common injuries that result from car accidents. In essence, a concussion is when your brain collides with your skull. This can be a result of hitting your head or just of extreme whiplash.
Sometimes, it can take weeks for the symptoms of a concussion to make themselves known. If you’re worried you may have gotten a concussion from a car accident, read on to learn about seventeen potential concussion symptoms.
You’re Acting Different
Major mood changes can be an indication of a concussion. This could be something as simple as unexpected mood swings. If your mood swings are more sudden or violent than they were before the accident, it may be a cause for concern.
This change can also include a more major personality shift, though. For instance, if you were generally a pretty happy person before the accident and how you just can’t seem to get out of a sad funk, it’s worth mentioning to your doctor. If you find yourself more irritable, angry, or sad than you were before the accident, it could be a symptom of a concussion.
You Blacked Out
Passing out, even for a minute, is never a good thing. And even if you woke up and felt fine afterwards, the fact that you lost consciousness could be a warning sign. Blacking out means your brain suffered trauma of one form or another, meaning you probably have a concussion.
Think back through the events of the accident. Do you remember opening your eyes after the crash, or do you have a few seconds you can’t account for? If you think you may have passed out during your car accident, be sure to mention that to your doctor.
Confusion is another classic concussion symptom. This can include confusion about the events of the accident. Although some scrambling of thoughts is normal in traumatic situations, if you find yourself switching or revising your memory of what happened, there could be a larger problem.
This confusion can also extend to everyday life. You might find yourself forgetting why you entered a room or uncertain as to what the date is. If you’re experiencing this, don’t blow it off.
You Have Short Term Memory Loss
Short-term amnesia is a major warning sign of a concussion. You may find that you can’t remember what happened immediately before or after the accident. In some cases, this amnesia can continue to be a problem.
Remember, sometimes it can take you a few hours or days to realize that you’re missing chunks of time. Think back and try to recall all of the events surrounding the crash. If you find you can’t remember a chunk of time, go talk to your doctor.
You Have a Ringing in Your Ears
Everyone gets a ringing in their ears from time to time. This is called tinnitus, and there can be many things that cause it, from exposure to loud noises to heart murmurs. But in most cases, it goes away relatively quickly.
If you have a constant ringing in your ears, it could be a sign that you have a concussion. You might also hear a chirping, buzzing, or another sound that isn’t really present. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any continuous noise you hear.
Your Headaches Get Worse
It’s not uncommon to have a headache after a car accident. If nothing else, whiplash (such as might be caused by a rear-end collision) and stress on your neck can make your head hurt. But those headaches should improve and go away with time.
If you have headaches that get worse or won’t go away, it may be a cause for concern. You may also feel like you have a pressure inside your head. If any of this worsens over time, it could mean a concussion.
Nausea comes and goes sometimes, but if you’ve been feeling nauseous more than normal lately, you may want to see your doctor. You may feel more strongly nauseous than usual, or you may get nauseous more frequently.
If you’ve vomited more than once since the car accident, this can also be an indicator of a concussion. Remember, you don’t have to have hit your head to have gotten a concussion. If you’re dealing with severe nausea, see your doctor about it.
Dizziness can be another symptom of a potential concussion. This may manifest as vertigo, or you may feel as though the room is spinning, even when you’re sitting or lying down.
You may also find yourself losing your balance more often than usual. When you bend down, you might find yourself falling over, or you could find tasks like going up and down stairs more difficult. All of these can be potential symptoms of a concussion.
You Have Blurry or Double Vision
Your sight is controlled by the occipital lobe in your brain. This lobe is located at the back part of your head and is thus prone to damage by whiplash. Your head flies forward when the car impacts, say in a head-on collision, and when everything bounces back, your skull hits the headrest of your seat, and your occipital lobe collides with your skull.
Damage to your occipital lobe can cause blurry or double vision. You may have trouble focusing on small objects. If you experience any changes in your eyesight after a car accident, be sure to talk to your doctor.
You’re Sensitive to Light
Another potential concussion symptom is sensitivity to light or sound. If you get migraines, you may be very familiar with these symptoms. And while these can accompany a bad headache, once again, they should improve.
You may find that being around bright light, or any light at all causes you pain. You may also find that you can’t stand to hear loud noises. If either of these things gets worse after the accident, contact your doctor.
You Have Numbness or Tingling
Although the two are not always linked, neck injury often shows up in people with concussions. It makes sense; if your head is getting jerked around, your neck is being put under a lot of strain, too. Because of this, one of the other potential warning signs of a concussion is numbness or tingling in your arms and legs.
Most of the time the actual concussion itself will not be the cause of the sensation. While a neck injury may be the actual culprit, it’s still a pretty good bet that you’re at risk of a concussion. If you have numbness or tingling anywhere, be sure to tell your doctor about it.
Your Sleep Patterns Are Off
Sleep patterns can be a major indicator of general brain health. You’ll commonly hear people say that changes in sleep patterns can be a symptom of depression. Well, it turns out the same is true of concussions.
After a concussion, you may find you have a hard time falling asleep. On the other hand, you might find that you sleep way too long, or that you’re always tired or fatigued. You should pay attention to any major change in your sleep patterns, as it can be the warning sign for a bigger problem.
You Have a Hard Time Staying Focused
We all have days where we just can’t seem to stay focused on what we need to do. That’s a normal part of life, and it comes and goes. But if you find yourself unable to focus on anything after your car accident, there may be a bigger problem.
You may find that after a car accident, you find yourself easily distracted. Or, you just may not be able to pay close attention to a task without your focus slipping away into daydreaming. If either of these is worse than it was before the accident, be sure to seek help.
You Find Yourself Repeating Questions
In the following days after the accident, be sure to pay attention to the way you ask and answer questions. This can tell you a lot about whether or not you may have a concussion. One of the warning signs of a concussion is repeating questions.
You may find a family member makes a comment that you are repeating a question you asked before. Or you may feel like you have asked a question before, but you can’t remember whether you did. If you experience either of these, pay attention to the warning.
You Answer Questions Slowly
The way you answer questions can be as important as the way you ask them. When your brain is damaged, formulating appropriate responses to questions may take more of an effort. This will result in you answering questions more slowly than before.
Once again, if you aren’t sure if you’re doing this or not, ask your family and friends. If your responses to questions have slowed down since the car accident, you probably want to get checked for a concussion.
You’ve Had One or More Seizures
A seizure is, of course, one of the biggest warning signs of a concussion. This will only happen in extreme cases, but it should be taken very seriously. Seizures nearly always mean a larger problem.
If you’ve never had seizures before and you have one following a car accident, get to an emergency room immediately. Seizures can be incredibly dangerous, and you don’t want to wait for a pattern to develop. Seek medical help as soon as the first one happens.
Something Feels “Off”
It may sound strange, but one of the strongest indicators of a concussion is a continuing feeling that something is “off.” You may not know how to describe it exactly, but if something just feels wrong, don’t ignore that. It may be a major warning sign.
Remember, you know your body best, and you’ll know if something is wrong. If you continue to feel “off” during the days following the accident, talk to your doctor. They’ll be able to test you for a concussion.
What to Do If You Got a Concussion from a Car Accident
While it is true that no one of these symptoms alone points to a concussion if you have two or more of them, you want to talk to your doctor. In combination, any of these are a pretty good indicator that something is wrong. And you don’t want to let a concussion go.
Untreated concussion from a car accident can be very damaging, especially if you got a concussion when you were a kid, or if you’ve had multiple in your life. They can impact everything from your mental health to your physical ability to your job performance. It isn’t worth losing all that just to avoid a trip to the doctor’s office.
Even if it turns out you don’t have a concussion, the headaches of your car accident are long from over. Trying to salvage the most out of an accident can be a long, complicated process. You’re going to want some help along the way.
If you’re in Louisiana and looking for someone to help you through the claims process, contact us at Babcock Injury Lawyers. We have a 100% client satisfaction guarantee and the best lawyers to make sure you get everything you deserve. Contact us today to get your free case review.
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