After a car accident, a concussion may be diagnosed, but how will you know if it’s something more serious?
A concussion is actually one of the most common traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that can occur after an accident, whether it’s a slip and fall, or a car crash – the two leading causes of TBI respectively. It typically occurs when a person has a violent jolt or blow to the head. In some cases, though less common, TBI can result from an object, such as a car fragment or a bullet, piercing the skull.
What You Might Experience With a TBI
A head injury, particularly a concussion, is sadly a frequent outcome of a vehicle accident. It can occur in varying degrees of severity and impact the patient’s life, with a TBI being one of the more complicated types of injury.
The symptoms of a serious TBI may include loss of consciousness for any period of time, a headache that seems to get worse, recurrent nausea or vomiting, inability to wake up, dilation of the pupils, and clear fluids draining from the ears or nose. These may also result in bleeding, physical damage to the brain, and bruising. A patient with a severe TBI could have lifelong complications, such as ongoing memory loss and seizures that may require skilled assistance with daily living.
Head injuries and TBIs, in particular, can be difficult to diagnose at the scene of the accident, or immediately thereafter, because the symptoms might not yet be present. Shock and adrenaline from going through the crash can mask a TBI, so it’s more likely the accident victim will get medical attention for this condition after the fact.
Since TBIs can look different from one patient to another, anyone who has suffered a blow to the head or recently been involved in a car accident should seek a diagnosis from a doctor. It is not uncommon for a TBI to be just one of a few diagnoses given to a patient suffering injuries from an accident. Broken bones, fractures, and other physical conditions might complicate the recovery for that victim.
Can a Seizure Be Related to a Traumatic Brain Injury?
One of the other conditions that can occur with TBIs is a post-traumatic seizure. Mirroring the symptoms of epilepsy, seizures from a car accident can create physical and emotional challenges for the patient.
A TBI might cause a seizure in the patient immediately after the accident happens or even months later. The more serious the injury, the higher the chances are that the patient might also develop seizures. A doctor might refer to this condition as post-traumatic epilepsy or post-traumatic seizures. Both these terms may be used to describe a seizure that occurs after a car accident with a TBI.
One CDC research study identified that for victims aged 15 and above who developed a TBI, there was a 10% chance that epilepsy would develop after the patient was put in the hospital for the TBI.
Are Post-Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Also Related to TBI?
Post-traumatic stress (PTS) is a common occurrence among people who have been involved in a car accident, and is a normal reaction to being involved in a stressful event. The body has a physical response, such as trembling hands, a general feeling of nervousness, and sweating, to help handle the stress and trauma of a car wreck.
Many people are scared to get in a car or drive again, or might even avoid a particular road where the accident happened. Most people who experience car accident PTS will see these symptoms fade a few days after the accident. For some, it may take several weeks or more for the affected person to return to his/her normal psychological state.
Flashbacks and avoidance are the most common symptoms of suffering from PTS after an accident, but when other symptoms are present, the victim might be suffering from more than one condition. In any of these situations, it is best to consult a physician for further assessment.
However, if the symptoms are more severe and last for longer than a month, a patient should see a doctor for a diagnosis. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a clinically-diagnosed condition where the patient may relive the experience through nightmares or anxiety attacks.
Studies from the American Psychological Association(APA) found that motor vehicle accidents (MVA) are the leading cause of PTSD in the general population. In fact, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated that 9% of car accident survivors develop PTSD. A doctor’s intervention and analysis is important in these cases.
Getting Compensation for Treatment After a Car Accident
If you were recently involved in a car crash that led to a head injury, or other serious medical conditions, an experienced attorney may be able to recover compensation to pay for your medical treatment.
If another party caused the accident and you were left to cope with the consequences, finding an experienced personal injury lawyer could be the first step towards the process of healing. Since a concussion, TBI and complications of these injuries can impact a patient’s ability to live a normal life, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
The details of how these injuries impacted the patient’s life will be critical for bringing a personal injury claim after a car accident. Many people who have issues with a brain injury, post-traumatic stress or seizures will require varying forms of medical care. This treatment can be expensive and extensive. Any victim in this situation should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to learn more about initiating a personal injury claim.