Losing consciousness in an accident, even for a few seconds, is a sign that your brain has received a bruise or possibly something worse. Even if you do not completely lose consciousness in an accident, but you feel a bit dazed or dizzy afterwards, there is still cause for concern and should be taken very seriously. Not all traumatic brain injuries are alike. Some symptoms of a brain injury may not become apparent or manifest for days or even weeks after a head injury. It is important to seek medical attention right away if you have hit your head or lost consciousness during an accident.
What if I lose consciousness in an accident?
It is estimated that nearly 2.5 million people sustain brain injuries in the U.S. each year. Of those, 2.2 million people are treated in the emergency room, 280,000 are hospitalized, and almost 50,000 die because of traumatic brain injuries. The number of people who do not receive treatment for a traumatic brain injury is currently unknown at this time.
Car accidents are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, just behind falls and struck by or against something; which fall at 1 and 2 respectively.
Common Car Accident Related Head Injuries
Since not all injuries are alike, we want to go over the most common head injuries that one may sustain in an accident. We always advise that you seek medical treatment right after your accident. Even if you are not showing signs of injury, head injuries are very serious and need attention right away.
- Concussion – A concussion usually occurs when you receive a violent blow to the head, violent shaking, or there is too much force from sudden acceleration and deceleration. What happens during a concussion is the trauma to your brain causes the blood vessels to stretch possibly causing nerve damage. Even if you think that you do not need to seek treatment for a concussion, please do. Concussions can be very serious and can result in impairments that can last a lifetime. Not all those who have suffered from a concussion lose consciousness, but experience bouts of feeling dazed and dizziness. A concussion does not always show up on a CAT scan or other diagnostic testing. Signs and symptoms of a concussion are:
- Headache or pressure in the head
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
- Delayed response to questions
- Appearing dazed
- Contusion – A contusion is bleeding (bruise) on the brain caused by direct impact. In order to remove larger contusions, a doctor may require you to undergo surgery. Symptoms of contusions include:
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble speaking
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- Coup-Countercoup – This is a term doctors use when there are contusions on the side of the brain that as well as the opposite side. When the force of the accident is so great that it causes contusions on the site of the impact and propel the brain against the opposite side of the skull, causing a second contusion. Symptoms of a coup-countercoup include:
- Impaired concentration
- Muscle weakness
- Problems with memory, balance, swallowing
- Diffuse Axonal Injury – This injury is due to the violent shaking or strong rotation of the head. It is most common in motorcycle accidents when the rider tumbles at high speeds after ejection from their seat. This type of injury is also common in those who are in an accident where the car flips over. The brain tissues are torn against the rapidly moving skull. Additional injury may occur when brain chemicals release during the accident. The damage from a diffuse axonal injury can be temporary or permanent. It can result in a coma or death. Symptoms of a diffuse axonal injury include:
- Lack of consciousness that can last up to six hours or more
- Brain damage
Every injury to your head must be taken seriously. Furthermore, some traumatic brain injuries do not have noticeable symptoms. All the while the injury to the brain is getting worse. A doctor will be able to assess your cognitive ability, socialization skills or difficulties, behavioral issues and any other psychological, physiological and emotional symptoms.
Always seek out the attention of a medical professional when you are suffering from injuries due to an accident.
Do not hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer at Silverthorne Attorneys to discuss your case. Consultations are free.