You’ve been in a car accident, and you just don’t feel right. It could be moments after your accident, or it may be a couple of days later. Is it a concussion?
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a concussion following a crash, it’s important to get checked out and follow the concussion protocol.
And after you’ve been properly examined, you’ll need to start considering whether or not a personal injury lawyer in Baton Rouge would be able to help you file a claim and argue your case for compensation for your injuries.
Not Seeing a Doctor Can Be Dangerous
Concussions are tricky things to deal with, because you may not even realize you’ve suffered one. Symptoms can appear either straight away, or hours, even days after the event.
It can be easy to just dismiss the symptoms of a concussion, especially when they don’t seem particularly worrying at the time. But that would be a mistake.
Your brain is precious, and also very delicate. Minor symptoms could actually be pointing to a larger problem. If you don’t get it checked out straight away, you could be left suffering with long-term side effects.
You could also be left with injuries that prevent you from quickly resuming work, providing for your family, driving your car, and more.
With so much at stake, you’re right to get checked out for a concussion after an accident. Follow the concussion protocol your doctor provides, and you’ll be better equipped to deal with the effects.
But how do you know if you’ve got a concussion? And what is the correct concussion protocol to follow after suffering one? Keep reading to see our list of symptoms, and what to do next.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a mild form of injury to the brain. This injury stops your brain from working the way it usually does for either a short amount of time or even permanently.
A concussion occurs when there is trauma to the head, where the brain is violently shaken within the skull. This shaking leads to the nerve tissue being torn and causes bruising and bleeding.
Concussions are graded depending on their intensity. Your concussion will be graded either:
- Grade I – You don’t pass out. Amnesia only lasts 30 minutes or doesn’t happen at all.
- Grade II – You’re unconscious for less than 5 minutes, or have amnesia for between 30 minutes and 24 hours.
- Grade III – You lose consciousness for more than 5 minutes, or have amnesia for more than 24 hours.
Who’s At Highest Risk?
Unfortunately, if you operate a vehicle on the road, then you’re at the highest risk of suffering a concussion.
The NFL has received a lot of press recently in relation to players receiving multiple concussions, and then dealing with the aftermath.
It’s a sad fact that, at present, a concussion is part of life as an American football player. Players receive constant blows to the head during games in tackles and slams, and heavy falls, among other things.
Because of this, the NFL released its own concussion protocol.
However, motor accidents and falls are actually responsible for the most traumatic brain injuries each year. In fact, 286,000 traumatic brain injuries occur every year as a result of car crashes. ATV accidents and motorcycle accidents also cause a high number of concussion cases each year.
Immediate concussion symptoms can last from a few days, up to a few months.
But, according to doctors, mild symptoms of concussion can last up to a year. Not following the correct concussion protocol can mean a delayed recovery, and worsened symptoms.
Even after a perceived recovery, people have gone back to work and started feeling spaced out, had difficulty concentrating, and couldn’t think, work, or exercise.
Some have even struggled emotionally and had feelings of depression. Depression and post-concussion syndrome often show up together. We’ll talk about post-concussion syndrome later.
This has led to a loss of earnings from having to take time off work. It’s resulted in the loss of work for others, as they’ve been unable to concentrate or perform the same tasks they easily could before.
In cases like this, it would be wise to consult a car accident lawyer to see what compensation you can receive, if the accident wasn’t your fault.
You or your family could suffer as a result of another driver’s being distracted, speeding, or otherwise driving erratically on the road. You deserve to be compensated for the negative effect it has on your life.
Avoid Concussion in a Car Accident
They say that prevention is better than a cure. That’s true in the case of a concussion.
When you’re in a car accident, save from wearing a helmet whenever you’re driving, it’s pretty impossible to avoid a concussion.
Concussions can be tricky to diagnose and can have long-term effects that aren’t immediately noticeable. Instead of having to follow the relevant concussion protocol at all, it’s important to do all you can to avoid having an accident in the first place.
On the road, the best way to avoid a concussion is this: Drive safely.
Drive safely. It’s easy to say, but harder to do when you’re actually on the road. But here are some tips on how to prevent a nasty car accident.
Things like keeping your distance, avoiding distractions, and not trusting car indicators, are all good ways of avoiding the unthinkable.
And wear your seatbelt! Seatbelts in cars can prevent you from lurching forward during a collision. This can minimise head trauma from hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, the seat in front of you, or a window.
All road users depend on the safe driving and good judgment of others. Make sure to focus on safe driving and to watch out for others on the road in order to avoid the stress and possible concussion from a car accident.
So, keep your driving safe and watch out for others, to avoid having a car accident and the stress and possible concussion that goes with it.
Symptoms of a Concussion
As we’ve said, it can be difficult to know whether or not you have a concussion immediately, because symptoms don’t necessarily show up straight away.
Though many people do, you might not pass out if you have a concussion. You may not even feel anything at first, but your symptoms could come on a few hours, or days, later.
People who suffer from a concussion display a variety of symptoms, which can be broken down into 4 categories.
Here is a list of concussion symptoms to look for after a car accident:
Thinking and Remembering
- Unable to think clearly
- Feeling like you’ve slowed down in your mind
- An inability to concentrate
- You struggle to remember new information
- Nausea and vomiting
- A headache
- Your vision may become blurred, or fuzzy
- You may become more sensitive to light, or sound
- You struggle with balance
- You may feel tired or exhausted and have no energy
Emotions and Mood
- You may feel more irritable than usual
- You may be more prone to getting upset, or angry
- You feel a sense of sadness
- You generally feel nervous, anxious, or stressed
- You might start sleeping more than usual
- You may struggle to sleep
- You might find it difficult to fall asleep
As you can see, the list of symptoms you may experience are varied, and some won’t be noticeable straight away.
If you do realize that you’re struggling a few days later, go and see your doctor. You may have suffered a concussion, and if you don’t follow the correct concussion protocol, your symptoms and injury could get worse.
When to Get Immediate Help
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates there are some signs that show immediate medical help is necessary.
Symptoms to look for include:
- A persistent headache that keeps getting worse
- You feel weak or numb, and struggle to coordinate your limbs properly
- You feel nauseous or vomit repeatedly
- Speech becomes slurred and indistinct
You’ll need to be taken straight to the ER if:
- You look extremely drowsy, or you won’t wake up
- One of your pupils is larger than the other. (This indicates a swelling of the brain)
- You start having seizures
- You struggle to recognize people, or don’t know where you are
- You become increasingly confused, restless, or agitated
- Your behavior changes or you start to act strangely
- You pass out.
Concussion in Children
You’ll need to be extra vigilant when checking children and teenagers for signs of a concussion because their brains are still developing, so the effects can be particularly damaging.
Older children and teenagers can suffer from the same symptoms as adults, but ask your doctor for their recommendations on youth-specific concussion protocol.
Younger children, babies, and toddlers can present with additional symptoms, though. These may include excessive crying, losing interest in their favorite toys or activities, or looking like they’re daydreaming.
If you see your child displaying any of these symptoms immediately, or in the period following a car accident, take them to the ER to get checked out straight away.
Concussion in Older Adults and the Elderly
A concussion can be particularly dangerous for older adults and the elderly because symptoms may often be missed.
If a person is taking blood thinners like Warfarin or daily aspirin, they need to go to the ER regardless of whether they exhibit concussion symptoms or not.
Following a concussion, older adults need to closely follow the concussion protocol set out for them by their doctor. They also need to take care to use a walking stick if necessary, and avoid a fall or further concussion, which will worsen the current brain injury.
The Concussion Protocol
You’ve suffered a concussion, and have been cleared by your doctor to go home and recover. So, what’s next?
While healing after suffering a concussion, your brain is more susceptible to further damage. It’s very important, therefore, to avoid any sort of activity that could cause another injury.
Concussion in NFL football players has been widely reported recently. This is due to the very serious danger of repeated concussions in a short space of time, leading to permanent brain damage.
The Washington Post explained the NFL’s concussion protocol, or concussion management guidelines, in 5 steps, which include rest and recovery, and regaining their coordination skills.
While you’re probably not a football player, there is a general concussion protocol that you should follow.
This concussion protocol includes:
Get Plenty of Sleep and Rest
Sleep is the medicine for a concussion. Sleep helps the brain to heal, which is exactly what you need after a brain injury.
Take It Slow
Don’t overdo it, and don’t try and get back to your usual routine immediately. Take it slow and steady, and be easy on yourself.
As we’ve discussed, the effects of a concussion can be difficult to deal with, but proper care can reduce these when you give your brain the time it needs to heal.
Don’t Do Too Much
Avoid physically demanding activities, so don’t exercise or do heavy housework while you’re recovering.
You’ll also need to avoid mentally taxing work that requires a lot of thinking and concentration, as part of your concussion protocol. While this includes working on a computer, it means that video games are a no-no, too.
One Week In
Monitor how you feel for a week. It might be that you still don’t feel right, or are displaying more concussion symptoms. If that’s the case, you need to see a professional dealing with brain-related injuries.
Driving and Work
You’ll need to ask your doctor about when you can drive your car again, or ride a bike.
You’ll also need to be cleared for work. Remember, if you overtax your brain when it’s in recovery, you could do lasting damage.
As part of the concussion protocol, you’ll need to avoid alcohol during the recovery process.
Alcohol can affect your balance and coordination, which means your chances of another brain injury are greater. It also heightens your risk of having seizures, whereas avoiding alcohol lowers this risk.
Alcohol can also exacerbate some of the mental and emotional symptoms of your concussion, which can cause you stress, anxiety, and upset.
Sometimes, though, the symptoms of your concussion don’t seem to go away after a week or more. Or, it can feel like new symptoms are developing, that you didn’t have before the accident.
It may be that you have post-concussion syndrome.
Post-concussion syndrome arises from concussion complications. Experts still can’t put their finger on exactly what causes it, no matter how exactly you follow concussion protocol.
What is known, though, is post-concussive syndrome can negatively impact your daily life, and the length of the syndrome is different for every individual, lasting from some months to a year or more.
How We Can Help
Have you been in an accident and suffered a concussive brain injury as a result?
If this sounds like you, Stephen Babcock is standing by to help you.
Your case — and your future will be our top priority. When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephen’s 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee.
If you have any questions about this article or want to visit with a lawyer for free, call Stephen at (225) 500-5000 or contact us here.
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