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How Do You Tell if You Have a Concussion After a Car Accident?

Scan of human brain on blue background, with injury indicated in red.

Know the warning signs and put your health first.

You're in a car wreck. Fortunately, you walk away feeling mostly okay; a little dazed, perhaps, but nothing is obviously injured. You're in the clear, right?

Unfortunately, we have seen time and again that that is not always the case. Even seemingly minor car accidents can cause significant injuries, and sometimes those injuries aren't immediately obvious.

One type of injury that often goes unnoticed is a concussion.

What are concussions? How are they sustained in car accidents?

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by the brain striking the inside of the skull. Keep in mind that "mild" is a bit of a misnomer; any brain injury is potentially serious.

If you hit your head on the steering wheel, a window, a seat, or any other part of the vehicle, or if an object struck your head during the wreck, then there is a good chance you have a concussion.

Remember, though, that you don't actually have to hit your head on anything to sustain a concussion. Any sufficiently violent forward and backward movement of the head can cause the brain to crash against the inside of the skull, potentially causing damage.

Why is it important to know if you have a concussion?

There are two main reasons you need to diagnose a concussion immediately.

First, and most importantly, a diagnosis protects your health. Again, all brain injuries are potentially serious, so the sooner you know, the sooner you can begin treatment and take measures to protect yourself.

In particular, another concussion before the first one has healed can cause second impact syndrome, a potentially fatal complication. It's important to know you have a concussion so you can keep yourself safe going forward.

Second, getting your concussion diagnosed creates a medical record of your injury that will help support your potential claim for compensation.

Concussions are often sustained in car accidents, but they can also occur in other types of incidents, and the insurance company may argue that your injury wasn't actually related to the car wreck.

Getting checked out by a doctor as soon as possible creates the documentation you need and makes it harder for the insurance company to dispute or deny your claim.

Key warning signs of a concussion

Concussions can have a wide variety of symptoms depending on the part of the brain that is injured, so you need to be vigilant. Some early warning signs of a concussion can include:

Physical symptoms

  • Unusually sized pupils
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Disrupted sleep (insomnia or narcolepsy)
  • Malaise (generally not feeling good)

Sensory symptoms

  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light

Cognitive symptoms

  • Difficulty concentrating or reading
  • Loss of memory
  • Confusion or disorientation

Behavioral symptoms

  • Loss of balance/clumsy movement
  • Irritability
  • Personality changes

In general, there are three things you should do after a car accident if you have any reason to suspect a concussion. First, pay attention to your symptoms. You know your body best, and you know if something feels off.

Second, listen to the people who know you. Sometimes, behavior and personality changes caused by a concussion are more obvious to others than they are to the injured person. If your friends and family tell you something seems wrong, investigate further.

Finally, see a doctor, even if you feel fine. When you go to the doctor, tell them about all your symptoms, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Your doctor needs that information to properly diagnose and document your injuries.

If you have a TBI from a car accident, contact us

Concussions are serious business. If you have a brain injury caused by someone else's carelessness, you need to take immediate action to protect your legal rights. That's why, after getting medical attention, your next call should be to contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates.

Any injury claim involving a brain injury is going to be a tough, hard-fought case. That's why you need an attorney who knows the system. Gary Martin Hays literally wrote the book on these types of cases: The Authority on Personal Injury Claims in Georgia.

Our experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys will investigate the accident, get to the bottom of what happened, and fight for the full compensation you deserve while you focus on getting better. You don't have to pay us a penny unless and until we win your case; that's our Zero Fee Guarantee. Give us a call or contact us online to speak with a Georgia car accident lawyer you can trust.

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