What to Do If You Got a Concussion After a Car Accident

Getting a concussion after a car accident is one of the most common injuries that can occur. They are mild traumatic brain injuries that can have long-term effects on your health if not treated immediately.

Recognizing the symptoms can be difficult, especially when you’re already dealing with the other physical and emotional tolls of a car accident. At Buddoo and Associates, our experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys are here to help you through your case while you prioritize your own health. This guide will help you detect whether or not you have a concussion, and what to do immediately afterwards.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a sudden impact or jolt to the head which causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. This movement can cause bruising, cell damage, and chemical changes in the brain. Though often called “mild,” concussions can affect brain function and overall health significantly.

In car crashes, concussions happen when the car comes to an abrupt stop and you hit your head on the steering wheel, dashboard, or window, or your head moves back and forth violently, disrupting brain activity and causing immediate or delayed symptoms.

Unlike whiplash, which affects the neck and spine, a concussion affects the brain. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. Getting medical attention right away will help mitigate long-term effects. Recognizing these symptoms and getting medical attention right away is key to proper recovery.

Concussion Symptoms

Immediate Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of a concussion is key especially after a car accident. Symptoms can happen immediately or hours or days after the accident. Common immediate symptoms are headaches, dizziness and nausea. You may also experience blurred vision, lightheadedness and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can be debilitating and may affect your daily activities, so you need to seek immediate medical attention right away.

Delayed Symptoms

In addition to immediate symptoms, delayed symptoms of a concussion can happen days or even weeks after the accident. These can include mood swings, memory loss, and sleep disturbances. You may notice changes in your behavior such as increased irritability or depression. Sensitivity to light and noise and persistent headaches can also be a sign of a concussion. Monitor for these symptoms as they can affect your quality of life and need medical attention. Monitoring for these symptoms is crucial as they can affect your quality of life and increase the risk of developing post concussion syndrome, which requires medical attention.

Subtle and Cognitive Symptoms

Some symptoms may be subtle and can be overlooked but not ignored. Confusion, delayed responses and feeling “foggy” or “out of it” are common cognitive symptoms that can happen after a concussion. Physical symptoms such as balance, memory problems, and mood changes can also be a sign of a brain injury. In severe cases you may experience seizures or loss of consciousness which requires emergency care.

How Do I Get Diagnosed With a Concussion?

After a car accident, you need to seek medical attention right away even if symptoms are not apparent. Signs of a concussion may not show up until hours or days later. Early medical evaluation will determine the severity of the injury and prevent further complications. Ignoring potential concussion symptoms can lead to long term health problems.

Diagnostic Procedures

Medical professionals use various diagnostic tools to diagnose a concussion. These may include imaging tests such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computed Tomography (CT) scans which will provide detailed images of the brain and will help identify any damage. X-rays may also be used to rule out other injuries. These imaging tests are crucial in determining whether you have a mild or severe concussion and the appropriate treatment needed.

Neurological and Cognitive Exams

Doctors will perform neurological exams to check vision, hearing, balance, coordination and reflexes. These exams will determine the extent of brain function impairment. Cognitive tests will also be administered to check memory, concentration and problem solving abilities. These tests will help understand the impact of the concussion on cognitive functions.

Role of Medical Professionals

Different medical professionals play different roles in diagnosing and treating concussions. Emergency room doctors will do the initial assessment and may refer you to specialists for further evaluation. Primary care doctors will monitor your symptoms and coordinate with neurologists who specialize in brain injuries. Neurologists can do more detailed assessment and treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Follow-up and Ongoing Care

Continuous monitoring and follow up appointments are important to manage concussion symptoms and ensure proper recovery. You should follow your doctor’s advice and report any new or worsening symptoms right away. Ongoing care may include physical therapy, cognitive rehabilitation and lifestyle changes to support recovery.

Doctor Treating Woman For Concussion

Treating your Concussion After a Car Accident

Initial Treatment

Immediately after a concussion injury, rest is the primary treatment. Patients are advised to avoid physical and mental exertion. Activities such as watching TV, playing video games and reading should be minimized to reduce the strain on the brain. This initial period of rest is crucial to prevent further injury and promote healing.

Long Term Management

As the initial symptoms start to subside a gradual reintroduction of activities is recommended. Patients should follow a structured plan to gradually increase physical and cognitive activities as advised by their healthcare provider. Avoid activities that can cause another concussion as repeated injuries can have cumulative and severe effects on brain health.

Monitoring Symptoms

Continuous monitoring of symptoms is important. Patients should keep a record of any recurring or new symptoms such as headaches, dizziness or cognitive difficulties. Regular follow up appointments with healthcare providers are necessary to assess progress and adjust treatment plans as needed. Persistent symptoms may indicate post-concussion syndrome (PCS) which requires specialized care.

Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)

Post-Concussion Syndrome occurs when symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury persist for weeks or months after the injury. Symptoms of PCS can include chronic headaches, dizziness, sleep disturbances and difficulties with concentration and memory. Treatment for PCS often involves a multidisciplinary approach including physical therapy, cognitive rehabilitation and counseling to address physical and psychological symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain lifestyle changes can help with recovery. Adequate sleep, balanced diet and hydration are important. Patients should also manage stress and avoid activities that can strain the brain. Gradual and supervised physical exercise can be introduced as tolerated, but avoid contact sports or activities with a high risk of head injuries until fully recovered.

Following Medical Advice

Getting medical help is important for full recovery. Patients should follow their healthcare provider’s advice and not rush the recovery process. Going back to normal activities too soon can delay healing and increase the risk of further injury. Open communication with medical professionals about symptoms and progress is key to safe and effective recovery.

Why Do I Need an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer?

Damages

A concussion can result to significant medical bills, lost wages and ongoing rehabilitation costs. An experienced lawyer can help you determine the full extent of your damages including economic and non-economic losses. They will ensure all current and future medical bills, lost income and compensation for pain and suffering are calculated and included in your claim.

Insurance

Insurance companies will often try to minimize the payout or deny the claim altogether. A car accident lawyer in Atlanta can negotiate with the insurance adjusters for you. They know the tricks of the insurance companies and can counter them effectively so you get the compensation you deserve.

Liability and Negligence

Proving liability and negligence in a car accident case can be tough. A knowledgeable lawyer will gather and analyze evidence such as police reports, medical records and witness statements to build a strong case. They can also work with experts such as accident reconstruction specialists to prove the other party’s fault and the extent of your injuries.

Legal Documents and Deadlines

The legal process involves a lot of documentation and strict deadlines. Missing a deadline or filing a document incorrectly can ruin your claim. An Atlanta car accident lawyer will handle all the legal paperwork so that everything is filed correctly and on time. This way you can focus on your recovery while they handle the legal complexities.

Representing You in Court

If a fair settlement can’t be reached through negotiations, your case may go to court. Having an experienced lawyer by your side is important in this situation. They will represent you in court, present your case and advocate for your best interests. Their expertise can increase your chances of getting a favorable verdict.

Getting You Compensation

A car accident lawyer’s goal is to get you the most compensation. They know the different types of damages you may be entitled to and will make sure you get all of it. This includes medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering and other related expenses.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today!

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned after a car crash in Atlanta, it’s important to prioritize yourself and find medical treatment immediately. While you deal with physical injuries, our attorneys at Buddoo and Associates can help you with your car accident claim to get the compensation you deserve.

Contact us at 404-870-3557 for a free consultation today!

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