Most concussions are caused by a blow to the head. That means that concussions are, unfortunately, common outcomes in many types of accidents—especially car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and slip and fall accidents. They also happen often in sports.
Technically, concussion is a medical term, not a legal term, but because they are so common and serious, they come up often in legal cases about accidents of all kinds.
Isn’t a concussion a minor injury?
No! Despite what you may have heard, most concussions are not minor. They involve trauma to the brain and they often have very long-term effects.
It’s true that we’ve all heard stories of someone who was hit on the head, seemed to be in bad shape at first, but was “fine” by the next day. But the truth is that they are often not “fine” at all—they may be conscious and have no memory issues, but even a mild concussion can often come with weeks or months of pain.
Many other concussions involve serious skull fractures, brain damage, and/or swelling that endangers the brain—even if this is not obvious at first.
Concussions can also come with other issues:
- Difficulty chewing or eating foot
- The need to eat soft foods only
- Skull fractures
- Damage to the sinuses
- Damage to the nerves in the head or face
- Swelling and bruising that may take a month or longer to heal
- Damaged or broken teeth
- Bleeding, and the risk of a life-threatening blood clot
- Damage to the eye or loss of eyesight
- Hearing issues
- Balance issues
- Brain damage, memory loss, or personality change
- Temporary or permanent impairment due to the injury to the brain
- It is often dangerous to fly on a plane after getting a concussion (even within a week or more after the injury)
Additionally, many head injuries that start off as “just” a concussion can develop into more serious brain injuries, especially if the swelling puts pressure on the brain.
Symptoms of a Concussion
In neuroscience, there are three main symptoms of a concussion:
- The person has difficulty maintaining one stream of thought
- They get distracted or lose focus easily
- It’s hard for them to carry out complex movements to get a goal accomplished (even simple goals, like putting away their clothes)
However, the first thing most people will notice is that the person likely has a visible lump on the head (though not always). In addition, they may be dealing with:
- A severe headache (which may last for days or longer)
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Balance issues
- Ringing in ears
- Swimming lights in vision
- Loss of some senses, like smell or taste (often temporary)
- Unusual thoughts or memories, or difficulty remembering things
- Difficulty focusing
- General confusion
What should I do if someone has a concussion?
The first thing many people do is to make an ice pack or get a cold pack. While this can help with the swelling, it’s important not to put pressure on the area of the injury, as this can make things worse if there is any fracture.
The best thing you can do is see a doctor immediately. It’s worth it to go to the emergency room, where they can safely treat the concussion and also do a scan to see if there is any serious damage to the brain, and/or if there are any fractures to the skull.
Your doctor will give you additional steps to take after you get home.
Within a few days, you will also want to speak to a head and concussion injury lawyer to help you determine if you have a right to recover money.
Talk to a Lawyer for Free
Recovering from a concussion is hard enough without worrying about your legal rights. The attorneys of John Foy & Associates can help you. Let us give you a FREE consultation to help you determine the best steps after your injury. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.