Head injuries are some of the most common car accident injuries. A head injury can cause mild pain that heals in a few days or severe damage that lasts long-term. After an accident, it can be hard to tell the severity of a head injury.
Head injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and brain injury are often used interchangeably. Someone might also refer to a head injury as a concussion. These terms can describe many different types of trauma affecting the head area.
Here are some differences between mild and severe head injuries.
Mild to Severe Head Injury Symptoms
The severity of a head injury might lead to different symptoms. Certain side effects might help you identify a mild versus a more severe head injury. However, always see a doctor to know for sure what you’re dealing with after a car accident.
Mild TBIs are known as concussions, and they are common after car accidents. Mild head injuries can lead to symptoms like:
- Mild confusion
- Temporary tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Dizziness or balance issues
- A swollen or raised area
- Blurred vision
- Irritability or fatigue
- Trouble remembering or concentrating
- Sleep disruption
More severe head injuries usually fall into the “moderate” or “severe” categories. These injuries need prompt medical attention. Besides the side effects of mild TBIs, more severe head injuries can have symptoms like:
- Severe headaches that don’t go away or get worse
- Losing consciousness or going into a coma
- Locked-in syndrome (when someone cannot move or speak)
- Slurred speech
- Nausea or vomiting that doesn’t go away
- Seizures or convulsions
- Clear fluid leaking from the ears or nose
- Short-term memory loss
- Behavior changes, such as irritability or mood swings
- One dilated pupil
- Open head wounds
These are just some examples. Every case is different, so a head injury might involve additional symptoms.
If you were in a car accident, always see a doctor afterward. Tell your doctor about any head-related pain or any of the above side effects. Head injuries can also look and feel like other medical conditions, so it’s essential to immediately get a physical exam.
If you have a head injury from a car accident, you might have legal rights too. Another driver might be liable for your accident damages. To learn more, discuss the case with one of our car accident lawyers. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.
Common Types of Head Injuries from Car Accidents
Car accidents can lead to many types of head injuries, ranging from mild to very severe. Common examples include:
- Contusions (bruises on the brain)
- Skull fractures
- Intracranial hemorrhages (ICH), which are broken arteries in the brain
- Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI), which cause damage from the brain moving inside the skull
Car accidents can lead to any brain or head injury. An injury might be severe, even if the symptoms seem mild at first.
It’s best to have a doctor check you for potential damage after your accident. That way, you’ll know if something is more severe and needs emergency attention. You could save yourself from worsening injuries or even permanent damage.
When to Get Immediate Medical Attention
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dangerous blood clots can sometimes develop in the brain. The clot can put pressure on the brain and become life-threatening.
It’s best to get medical attention after any possible head injury from an accident. However, go to the emergency room immediately if you have symptoms like:
- Headaches that stay or get worse
- Drowsiness or not being able to wake up
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Numbness or weakness
- Poor coordination
- Recurring nausea or vomiting
- One pupil that’s larger than the other
- Not being able to recognize familiar places or people you know
- Seizures or convulsions
- Confusion, agitation, or restlessness that increases
These are all common symptoms of severe head injuries. If you have signs of a severe injury, do not wait to get help. You might need emergency medical treatment to avoid serious or life-threatening side effects.
How a Doctor Diagnoses Head Injuries
A doctor will usually order tests to check your head and brain for injuries. Before that, the doctor will likely do a physical exam. They’ll check for visible lacerations, bruises, or bleeding.
The doctor will also ask how you got your injuries. Tell them if you were injured in a car accident. Seeing a doctor will create a record of you getting medical attention after your accident. If someone else caused your crash, medical records will help back up your injury claim.
Tests your doctor might use to diagnosis a head injury include:
- X-rays for images of the head and brain
- CT scans and MRIs that create detailed pictures of the brain
- EEGs that record brain activity
- Blood tests to check for unnatural changes in your body
Damages to Claim from a Car Accident
If you were not at fault for your car accident, you have rights. You might have a personal injury claim against the other driver. The driver is likely responsible for the costs of your head injury.
Damages you can claim for your accident and injury costs include:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
An experienced car accident lawyer can help document and prove your head injury after a car accident. A lawyer can also help build a claim and fight for your right to compensation.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Head injuries can be complicated and confusing. After a car accident, it’s crucial to know the severity of your injury. See a doctor as soon as possible, especially if you have severe symptoms.
Also, contact a car accident lawyer for the legal side of things. At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping accident victims for over 20 years. We can help if you were not at fault for your accident.
Call us at (404) 400-4000 or fill out our online contact form for a FREE consultation.