How to Deal with a Head Injury After a Car Accident

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Last modified on June 3, 2024

A head injury can be one of the most devastating consequences of a car accident. Even though head or brain injuries are not always immediately obvious, they can worsen over time without immediate medical attention and care. Because even minor brain injuries can eventually lead to significant physical, cognitive, and emotional problems, recognizing and addressing early symptoms can be the difference between a swift recovery and an arduous one.

Types of Head Injuries

People can suffer three basic types of head injuries in car crashes. The most severe accidents may even cause all three types.

  • Closed Head Injuries – This type of injury occurs when an impact causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull. The impact could be on the body or the head.
  • Open Wounds – Open wounds occur when an external object strikes the skull hard enough to break the skin and the skull, causing damage to the brain.
  • Crushing Injuries – Some accidents cause the car’s frame to give way enough that it crushes a section of an occupant’s skull, which can potentially cause injuries to multiple parts of the brain.

All of these injuries can result in a broad range of conditions. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons outlines the possibilities as follows:

  • Mass Lesions – Brain bruising and bleeding can result from hematoma, contusions, intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
  • Diffuse Injuries – These include axonal injuries, which interfere with nerve function. They also include ischemic injuries, which reduce blood flow to the brain.
  • Skull Fractures – A fracture to the skull can be anything from a simple crack to a compression fracture that pushes bone into the brain.

Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), traumatic brain injury symptoms can include the following: 

  • Physical Symptoms – These include headache, blurry vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and trouble balancing.
  • Cognitive Symptoms – The affected individual may suffer from difficulty thinking, a sense of slowness, forgetfulness, and concentration problems
  • Sleep Symptoms – A person who has suffered a TBI may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up from sleep.
  • Emotional Symptoms – After a TBI, a person may feel inexplicable sadness, irritability, nervousness, or anxiousness.

Watch closely for any of the above symptoms in yourself or your loved ones after an accident. If you notice any of them, seek immediate medical treatment.

If a child has been in a car accident, they may not be able to communicate their experience. Observe them for the above symptoms. Also, look for continuous crying or a refusal to nurse or eat.

Recognizing Head and Brain Injury Symptoms at the Scene of an Accident

Some head injuries are so visibly apparent that other people on the scene of the accident can immediately recognize how serious they are. 

However, many traumatic brain injuries (TBI) go unnoticed or undiagnosed because they happen without outward signs of head trauma. Often the person who has received the injury experiences such a rush of adrenaline that they do not feel any immediate pain. They may begin to experience symptoms in the hours or days that follow. Recognizing early signs is essential for ensuring the greatest chances of recovery.

After someone has sustained a head injury in a car accident, their condition might prevent them from recognizing the signs that they have been injured. If you are on the scene of an accident, be aware of others who might display symptoms such as:

  • Appearing dazed or confused
  • Failing to respond normally when questioned
  • Failing to recall what has happened
  • Losing consciousness
  • Changing personality
  • Forgetting information

First Aid for Head Injuries after an Accident

Call emergency responders immediately if you notice someone displaying any of the above symptoms after a car accident. Let them know that you suspect that someone has suffered a head injury. While you wait for the ambulance:

  • Make sure the injured person remains still. Do not move them or reposition them unless it is necessary. If they are wearing a helmet, do not remove it.
  • If they are bleeding from the head, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth. However, if it appears that they may have a skull fracture, do not apply pressure.
  • Begin CPR if the person has stopped breathing.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury in a car accident, you deserve compensation for your losses. The experienced Charleston car accident attorneys of Murphy Crantford Meehan will work to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call us today at (843) 960-3546 or contact us online for a free consultation.


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