Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused when a person suffers a serious bump or blow to the head. They can happen in many situations, from sporting accidents to vehicle collisions.
Unfortunately, the severity of concussions is often underestimated. This is largely because many people experience delayed concussion symptoms, leading them to initially believe the injury is less concerning than it may be.
Even when concussions are dubbed as “mild” by medical professionals, they can still have serious consequences and side effects. Delayed symptoms pose a special danger if they go unrecognized and untreated.
For more legal information about delayed concussions, contact Midwest Injury Lawyers today. We’ve seen our fair share of concussion and head injury cases, and we’ll help you find your next steps forward.
How Do Concussions Happen?
Concussions can be caused by any kind of blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Most commonly, concussions occur when a person falls hard – likely while playing a contact sport or after tripping on an uneven surface. Other common causes include:
- Pedestrian accidents
- Military operations
- Domestic violence
- Construction site accidents
- Vehicle accidents
When someone suffers a concussion, their brain can be jostled inside of the skull, resulting in swelling, bleeding, and other serious side effects. Therefore, it’s essential that anyone who suffers a head injury seek medical care immediately.
How Common Are Concussions?
The CDC estimates that at least 1.6 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States every year. Thousands of others occur due to motor vehicle collisions, violent assaults, and slips and falls.
How Can You Tell If You Have a Concussion?
Diagnosing a concussion can be tricky – the variety of symptoms and varied timelines make it challenging to pinpoint the level of severity.
Some people will immediately lose consciousness after a head injury, which likely indicates a concussion. Other strong indicators include amnesia (memory loss), unusual confusion, headaches, or sleepiness. If you or your loved one have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
On the other hand, some patients with concussions may have no immediate symptoms. They may experience concussion symptoms days later – and it may be difficult to determine if the symptoms are associated with the initial accident. Still, it’s always best to undergo an assessment from a medical professional after any head injury.
What Are the First Symptoms of a Concussion?
If a person does experience immediate side effects after a concussion, they will likely include at least one (if not multiple) of the following:
- Forgetfulness/memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Blurred vision
- Changes in vision or eyes
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Blood or other fluid coming from the nose or ears
- Weakness in the extremities
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Confusion or fogginess
- Slurred speech
- Delay in responding to questions
How Long Can the Symptoms of a Concussion Be Delayed?
Delayed concussion symptoms can take between 24 and 48 hours to appear. This is why most medical professionals will advise family members to keep a close eye on anyone who has recently experienced a head injury.
What Are Possible Delayed Symptoms of a Concussion?
If a person has delayed concussion symptoms, rather than immediate side effects, they may experience:
- Sensitivity to sounds and noise
- A loss or changed sense of taste or smell
- Sleep disturbances (sleeping too much or too little)
- Concentration and memory difficulties
- Sensitivity to light
- Personality changes
Keep in mind that these are just some of the delayed symptoms that can accompany a concussion. If you or a loved one has recently experienced a head injury, keep an eye out for a wide range of changes and/or concerns that could call for medical attention.
How Long Do Most Concussion Symptoms Last?
A large majority – up to 80% – of concussions resolve themselves within a week or two. However, recovery does depend on treatment and care. The injured person should refrain from participating in sports or physical activity for at least a full week after their injury.
In severe cases, concussion symptoms can last for months at a time. These concussions are typically more serious and can result in microtrauma, permanent brain damage, disabling conditions, and lifelong symptoms.
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a condition in which any or all of the typical concussion symptoms last for weeks or even months. If you or a loved one is continuously experiencing symptoms after a head injury, seek medical attention.
Are Concussion Symptoms in Children the Same As in Adults?
Typically, concussions trigger similar responses in children as they do in adults. However, it may be more difficult to notice certain symptoms in children – and they may not be able to accurately voice certain complaints such as feelings of tiredness or anger.
Parents of children should always watch for both immediate and delayed concussion symptoms after a head injury. Monitor for changes in behavior, physical symptoms such as vomiting, and general confusion or loss of balance.
What Is the Treatment for a Concussion?
Treatment for concussions can vary, depending on the injured person’s age and range of symptoms. All concussions require rest and time to heal, both mentally and physically. If there are delayed concussion symptoms, or side effects that linger past a couple of weeks, more serious treatment may be required.
Medical professionals generally recommend gradually resuming normal activities and paying attention to any changing symptoms. If symptoms last more than a couple of months, the person will likely be diagnosed with PCS.
Can a Concussion Cause Death?
Almost all patients fully recover from their concussions. However, if a serious concussion is not treated, it could escalate into a life-jeopardizing situation. Always learn the symptoms of a concussion and know when to seek medical help.
What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have a Concussion?
If you or a loved one experienced a blow to the head, see a medical professional as soon as possible. If you are conscious, or you are the relative of the patient who saw what happened, describe the accident to the doctor.
Medical professionals will then likely recommend a CT or MRI scan to assess the brain for bleeding and other serious issues. They may also perform neurological, vision, hearing, balance, coordination, and reflex tests. This can include asking certain questions to assess the patient’s concentration and memory capabilities.
Some patients with suspected concussions are admitted to the hospital for overnight observation, but many are sent home with family members who have been instructed to watch over them. The doctor will likely advise you on possible delayed concussion symptoms and when to seek further medical attention.
What Recourse Do I Have If Someone Else Caused My Concussion?
In many cases, no one is to blame for the concussion – accidents happen. In other cases, there’s a culpable party whose negligence, abuse, or disregard for safety resulted in the head injury.
For example, if you were rear-ended by another driver who was distracted on the road, and you suffered a concussion as a result, the other driver is responsible.
Under Chicago state law, you have legal rights in these situations. This includes pursuing compensation from the party that contributed to the concussion’s cause.
What Compensation Can I Recover After a Concussion?
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, or another individual, helps hold those who are guilty accountable for their actions. They are liable for the financial damages incurred because of the concussion, including medical bills, lost wages, caregiver expenses, and more.
Compensation can also include emotional damages, such as pain and suffering. These damages can be more complicated to assess but are still worth financial compensation.
The total amount of compensation in head injury cases will depend on a wide range of factors, including the severity and duration of the concussion’s symptoms and the expenses incurred. To understand what your case is worth, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
About Midwest Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has suffered a concussion due to someone else’s actions, you deserve to seek justice. At Midwest Injury Lawyers, we have represented head injury cases involving everything from vehicle crashes to slips and trips.
Whether you experienced immediate or delayed concussion symptoms, our expert Chicago attorneys are here to help. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options.