The short answer to this question is, yes. But there’s a bit more to it than a three-letter word. Concussions are the most common type of brain trauma – and they need to be treated appropriately.
Most people associate concussions in sports – primarily football. In fact, it’s estimated that about 3.8 million concussions occur from sports-related injuries. Outside of sports, it’s been found that older people and children under the age of four are at the greatest risk of concussions, due to their risk of falls.
Many concussions tend to go unreported. While the effects of brain trauma may not be immediately apparent, there can be numerous long-term impacts.
In this post, we want to go over everything you need to know about concussions and brain trauma. Most importantly, we’ll discuss how to protect yourself, both physically and financially.
A. What is a Concussion?
According to the CDC, a concussion is a “type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.”
The brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned against the skull by spinal fluid to prevent extreme movement. When there is a rapid blow, jolt, or bump to the head, the brain can impact the skull – which can lead to bruising. In more extreme cases, the blood vessels or nerves in the brain can be damaged.
The severity of brain trauma can vary, but nearly all concussions post serious health risks if left untreated.
B. How Do Concussions Happen?
Outside of concussions in sports, many, many scenarios can result in a concussion – not caused by a direct blow to the head.
Whiplash/jolts are one of the most common concussion causes. Typically, whiplash and jolts occur when the victim doesn’t have time to brace themselves. These injuries can result in both a concussion and damage to the neck/spine.
Many of these concussions are the result of the negligence of another person, company, or organization. As a result, the victim may be eligible to make a personal injury claim.
Whiplash is often traced back to one of these scenarios:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall injury
Now, any of these instances can also result in a blow to the head. But it’s possible a concussion can be caused if the head never strikes an object. For example, getting rear-ended in a vehicle can result in a whiplash-induced concussion.
C. What Are the Signs You Have a Concussion?
Fortunately, the signs of a concussion are usually easy to spot. A persistent headache is going to be the most common sign you’re facing a head injury, but it’s not the only one. Here are some of the telltale concussion symptoms.
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to noise
- Difficulty concentrating
- Numbness in head
- Loss of consciousness
- Change in sleep patterns
- Mood shifts
- Memory loss
Concussion symptoms can appear within minutes of suffering whiplash or a jolt, but they can take longer depending on the scenario. In some cases, the victim may be in shock after the accident and not notice the symptoms until later. Additionally, some symptoms can change over time.
We cannot stress the importance of getting examined by a doctor after a head injury – no matter how mild it might seem. Head injuries can lead to lifelong challenges if left untreated.
D. How to Test if You Are Concussed
Seeking medical attention immediately after noticing signs of a concussion is crucial – no matter what the situation is.
But how can doctors tell if you have a concussion?
Fortunately, identifying this type of head injury is very easy for a trained professional. Diagnosis of a concussion is based on a few basic tests, including:
- Check eye movement
- Examine reaction to light
- Test coordination
- Ask questions to gauge memory
Many victims think they need a CT scan or an MRI to identify a concussion. These types of tests aren’t usually necessary, as they don’t detect concussions. The doctor’s tests listed above are generally the best ways to know if a concussion occurred.
In more severe cases, an imaging test might be warranted. This usually happens if the doctor believes the victim is experiencing swelling and/or bleeding in the brain.
E. Long Term Effects of Concussions
We’ve seen the case studies of football players and repeated concussions; the long-term side effects of concussions can be detrimental.
Many people think concussions are only serious if they resulted from a blow to the head. Concussions induced by whiplash or jolts are just as dangerous. In some cases, they can be more dangerous.
The long term side effects of concussions – if left untreated – include (but are not limited to):
- Ongoing dizziness
- Permanent memory loss
- Loss of coordination
In the days after experiencing a concussion, it is critical to minimize the side effects as much as possible. Here’s how to help a concussion:
- Avoid fast motions
- Avoid intense light/flashing
- Follow the doctor’s orders
In terms of a concussion and how long to heal, we’ve got good news. Most victims of a concussion make a complete recovery within a week or two.
F. What to Do When You Get a Concussion
If you have experienced a concussion – which was not your fault – there are several steps you need to take.
Document the injury
Clearly explain the situation that resulted in brain trauma. Perhaps you were rear-ended at a stoplight, hit by a car crossing a street, or slipped and fell in a poorly maintained area. You’ll need to go into detail about what happened, and whether another party was liable.
Document the Recovery
The next step to take following a concussion is to keep documentation of your entire recovery process. If another party was liable for your accident, a personal injury claim will seek compensation for your entire recovery. This would commonly include:
- Doctor visits
- Medical bills – current and future
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
Documentation is everything in a personal injury case. Be sure to keep all of it in an organized place.
G. Hire a Brain Injury Attorney
The next step in seeking justice is to start the concussion litigation process.
The most important factor to watch in the brain injury case is the settlement offers. Many victims of a concussion believe they won’t recover much compensation because their brain trauma is mild. This is not true. While the situation varies from case to case, concussions can result in very hefty medical bills.
Keep in mind, insurance companies have high-powered teams working to minimize the compensation they have to pay victims. This is why it’s so important to work with a personal injury attorney specializing in brain injuries.
Personal injury attorneys are trained to negotiate with insurance companies and earn the maximum compensation for your brain trauma. Doing this without an attorney is nearly impossible.
Many victims of concussions are facing this situation for the first time – and believe they cannot afford an attorney. This is another thing that is simply not true.
Brain injury attorneys generally work on a contingency fee agreement. This means they will recover their fees from the at-fault party after they win the case. Victims do not pay a penny upfront out-of-pocket. In other words, ANYONE can afford to work with a skilled brain injury lawyer.
A concussion can occur in many different ways – heavy blows to the head are hardly the only one.
Brain trauma – no matter how mild it might seem – must be taken very seriously. Doing nothing after experiencing whiplash or a jolt can be detrimental, both to your mental, physical, or financial wellbeing.
If you have any questions regarding head injuries or personal injury law, do not hesitate to reach out to Midwest Injury Lawyers. Give us a call at 312-786-5881, email us at email@example.com, or send us a message online. Even if you don’t have a legitimate personal injury case, we’ll be happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction.