Unfortunately, head injuries are common after motor vehicle accidents. This is because when your car slams into an obstacle, it may stop, but your body will continue forward at a high rate of speed. Your head may strike part of the interior of the car, such as the steering wheel or dashboard. Head injuries that happen this way are easy to recognize; there will be swelling, bruising, and possibly bleeding; you may even have lost consciousness. However, you can also get a concussion from abrupt head movement, even if your head didn’t actually strike anything. When your head is shaken back and forth in a motor vehicle accident, your brain shifts and slams against the inside of your skull. This causes a concussion.
One NIH study found that concussions occur in 1 out of every 61 crashes (crashes that were severe enough for a car to have to be towed), with rollover accidents being the most dangerous. The risk was reduced by 69.2% when seat belts were used.
Because you may be focused on other, more visible injuries after your accident, you may not realize at first that you are suffering from a concussion, (also known as a mild traumatic brain injury, or MTBI). The symptoms will become evident in the next hours or days. You should be thoroughly examined by a medical professional as soon as possible after being involved in a crash. However, if you begin experiencing concussion symptoms later on, it is important to return to your health care provider.
Symptoms of a Concussion:
- Problems with balance
- Dizziness and/or nausea
- New sensitivities to light or noise
- Difficulty focusing
- A general feeling of being unwell
- Difficulty articulating thoughts
- Blurred vision
- Memory problems
- Sleep difficulties
- Irritability (or any mood or personality changes)
- Ringing in the ears
You don’t need to experience all of these symptoms to be diagnosed with a concussion; see your doctor if you notice any of them. You may also want to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Indiana head and brain injury lawyer. If it turns out that you are suffering from Post Concussion Syndrome, you will need advice on how to begin gathering documentation and on what steps to take next.
Post Concussion Syndrome
Generally, concussion symptoms last for an average of 7-10 days. But with PCS, they last for weeks, months, or even longer. It is difficult to get an ironclad diagnosis because there is often nothing structural to be seen on imaging tests. Concussions are characterized by the inability of neurons to signal for the required amount of blood to complete an action, and that isn’t something visible. There is no definitive scan to determine PCS; however, to rule out other causes (such as bleeding on the brain or a skull injury), you will probably undergo certain tests:
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- CT (computerized tomography) scan
- Physical exam; This will include taking a list of your symptoms and a history of any previous brain injuries. If you have more than 1 of the symptoms from the list above, your doctor may diagnose Post Concussion Syndrome.
Research has shown that some people are more at risk for PCS than others:
- Younger people
- Older people
- PTSD sufferers
- People with a history of concussions
According to the NIH, between 40% and 80% of those who have experienced a mild traumatic brain injury are diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome in the weeks following the initial injury. Unfortunately, half of the concussion sufferers are still experiencing symptoms for up to 3 months afterward. Even more worrying, 10%-15% have PCS that lasts for more than a year (and that percentage may be even higher since some people remain undiagnosed).
Treatment consists more of managing the symptoms than fixing the problem, and time is an important factor. Depending on what symptoms you are dealing with, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Psychotherapy or counseling for mood disorders
- Medication for headache pain
- Avoidance of alcohol
- Referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) for dizziness problems
Helping You Recover from PCS
PCS can be debilitating. It’s discouraging not to be able to concentrate, and it is unlikely that a PCS sufferer would be able to continue to work while experiencing symptoms. Not only will you be affected cognitively, but you may also have physical or mood issues that hinder your ability to accomplish day-to-day tasks or foster relationships. You will be facing medical expenses, possible therapy bills, medication expenses, as well as a loss of wages. These are all serious negative effects before even factoring in your pain and suffering.
The car accident lawyers at Crossen Law Firm have a wealth of experience dealing with those who have experienced brain injuries in motor vehicle accidents. If someone else has caused your vehicle accident through negligent actions, you have the right to pursue compensation. We can help you gather evidence and take steps to fight for fair compensation from insurance companies.
Post Concussion Syndrome can disrupt your financial, physical, and emotional well-being. Get started on your case today by scheduling a free consultation about your situation.
Call 317-401-8626 or contact us online.