You probably think that you will notice severe or life-threatening injuries right at the scene of a car crash. That is often true for people with compound fractures or spinal cord injuries. However, there is another, potentially life-altering, injury that you may not notice at the scene of a collision.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are some of the worst and most common injuries that people can suffer in motor vehicle collisions. A car crash can cause blunt-force trauma or violent shaking motions that lead to bleeding or swelling inside the skull. Even though brain injuries can endanger someone’s life or cause lifelong symptoms, they may not be obvious right at the scene of a crash.
Increasing pressure often produces noticeable symptoms
In the immediate aftermath of a car crash, you will have a dulled sense of pain. Your body’s reaction to such an emergency usually involves flooding you with chemicals to respond quickly. Being able to ignore pain is important if you need to flee a predator, but it is less beneficial in the aftermath of a wreck.
You may not notice the pain in your head until it starts to get worse or doesn’t go away for several days. Traumatic brain injuries often worsen over time as bleeding or bruising continues, increasing the pressure on the brain. As pressure builds, symptoms from the TBI develop and worsen.
Timely medical intervention can prevent the TBI from getting worse and can improve someone’s prognosis. Anyone who hit their head or loses consciousness in a crash is at risk for TBI. The same is true for anyone whose vehicle spins, rolls or flips.
Be on the lookout for brain injury symptoms
Ideally, anyone at risk for a brain injury after a car crash will go see a doctor for immediate medical evaluation. However, the doctor may not perform necessary tests or might just advise you to monitor yourself for symptoms.
Paying attention to changes in your mood, personality, sleep routine, sensory perception and your motor function is necessary. Even minor changes could be warning signs of a significant TBI. Some people may not notice worrisome symptoms for hours or even days after a crash.
Recognizing the warning signs of a brain injury and seeking medical care immediately could improve your prognosis and also make it easier for you to ask for compensation because of your injuries.