Signs and Symptoms of Concussion after a Car Accident

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Signs and Symptoms of Concussion after a Car Accident
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 7/29/2019

With the recent advancements in technology and the high-profile prevalence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in the NFL, concussions are on the forefront of medical research and media discussions. Concussions aren’t just for those involved in contact sports. The human brain is not meant to endure significant forces of impact, and the conditions created during a motor vehicle collision are ripe for traumatic brain injury.

In significant crashes, drivers and passengers might hit their head on windows, air bags, or other features of the vehicle. Even in less significant car accidents, the whiplash effect can force a passenger’s brain to move back and forth within the skull. While perhaps less ubiquitous, mild traumatic brain injury and post-concussive symptoms are regular occurrences.

Neck pain stemming from strains or sprains is the most well-known symptom of a motor vehicle collision. Noticing the signs and symptoms of a concussion after a collision is important to ensure proper treatment is considered. What types of symptoms should you be on the look out for after a collision? Here’s are a few things to consider:

  1. Headache. Head pain doesn’t always necessarily mean concussion. Headache can originate from neck pain, trauma to the brain, and other causes. If headaches persist as neck pain improves seeking medical attention should be a top priority.
  2. Confusion. Many patients suffering from post-concussive symptoms experience confusion in some form. This may be a difficulty with word choice, problems with short-term memory, slurred speech, brain fog, and problems focusing just to name a few.
  3. Nausea. If you experience nausea and vomiting in the days or weeks after a collision, you may be suffering from the ill effects of a concussion. There are – obviously – other reasons for nausea, like vestibular dysfunction, but post-concussive syndrome is something to consider especially after a motor vehicle collision.
  4. Fatigue. Lethargy – especially after a normal but long day – is a common sign of concussion recovery. Taking naps might seem like a good idea but regulating your sleep schedule and keeping a good night sleep is key to overcoming your symptoms.
  5. Neurological Deficits. Balance, equilibrium, and coordination problems are typically simple to notice after a collision. If you find yourself having difficulty adjusting to movement, feeling carsick, dizzy, or having weakness may be a sign of concussion.

If you experience these types of symptoms after a motor vehicle collision, it’s important to seek medical attention. With an appropriate physical examination and history, your medical provider will be in the best position to diagnose your symptoms. In some cases, more thorough evaluations might be required. Visual exams, CT scans, and MRIs can be used to check for more serious problems like internal bleeding or inflammation. Your primary care physician may refer you to a neurologist or neuropsychologist if your symptoms persist.

Documentation in a personal injury claim is of the utmost importance. The biggest problem with concussion claims as part of a motor vehicle accident is that they tend to be vague and medical providers can have different opinions as to prognosis or causation. Telling your doctor about your symptoms right away and following the appropriate medical recommendations is paramount to maintaining your insurance claim. The experienced attorneys at Magnuson Lowell PS can work with your medical providers to ensure your claim proceeds along the best path. Feel free to call for a free consultation.


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