From cuts and bruises to broken bones, many post-accident injuries are very obvious. However, one dangerous condition isn’t always easy to detect. The sudden and violent physical impact of an accident can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI), potentially creating devastating effects on both your physical and mental health.
Many people don’t realize that even a minor car crash can cause a TBI. It can happen at relatively slow speeds and may occur even if you don’t make contact with the windshield, dashboard, or steering wheel. It’s important to understand the common signs of TBI so you can watch out for them in the hours, days, and weeks following a car accident. Recognizing the symptoms and immediately seeking treatment can help you avoid or minimize potentially serious long-term effects.
Symptoms of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
If you’ve experienced a mild TBI, you may lose consciousness for a few seconds or a few minutes. However, this is not always the case. Some people never lose consciousness but report feeling disoriented or dazed right after the accident. Common signs of a mild TBI include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Loss of balance
- Tinnitus (ringing ears)
In some cases, you may also experience symptoms such as:
- Changes in taste, smell, or vision
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Lapses in memory
- Mood swings
- Anxiety or depression
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping more often
- Difficulty concentrating
Symptoms of Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Car accident victims who have suffered from a moderate to severe TBI may lose consciousness for several minutes or even hours immediately following the crash. You may also notice symptoms such as:
- Persistent nausea and repeated vomiting
- Dilated pupils
- Ongoing or worsening headache
- Extreme or severe confusion
- Slurring speech
- Clear fluid draining from the nose or ears
- Numbness or weakness in the fingers and/or toes
This level of brain injury can also cause disturbing symptoms such as:
- Difficulty waking from sleep
- Difficulty with coordination
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Agitation or combativeness
- Coma or other consciousness disorders
What to Do If You Think You Have TBI
Even mild TBI can cause a wide range of physical and psychological effects. Some of the symptoms may occur right away while others may appear days or even weeks after the accident occurs. If you notice signs of a TBI, you should treat it as an emergency and seek immediate medical care.
The physicians caring for you may conduct a 15-point test called the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine whether you have a TBI and if so, how severe the damage may be. They may also order imaging tests such as an MRI or a CT scan to assess potential brain damage.
Consult with a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
Traumatic brain injuries are extremely common after car accidents, and the effects can turn your life upside down. If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you should not have to bear the burden alone. The attorneys at Gallagher & Hagopian can help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.