What is a Concussion?
Concussions are a form of brain injury that, if left untreated or undiagnosed, could result in some devastating effects. It is caused by a significant impact on the head, neck, or body. This impact can cause the brain to move rapidly back and forth within the skull, resulting in temporary or permanent damage to brain cells. Concussions are often seen in motor vehicle crashes, physical abuse, and other types of accidents.
However, like many other injuries that are sustained in car accidents, concussions do not immediately present alarming symptoms. Without knowing what to look for, you could miss out on the more subtle signs of this serious injury.
Regardless of whether or not you believe you were injured or sustained a concussion, always make a trip to the doctor among your top priorities after being involved in an accident.
Even mild concussions can have serious consequences if left untreated. In addition to seeking medical advice, it’s also important to rest and avoid physical or mental activities that could aggravate the injury.
Depending on the severity of the concussion, recovery time can range from a few days to several weeks or even months.
Symptoms of Concussions After an Accident
The following signs are all indicators that you should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible:
- Loss of consciousness, even if it was only for a matter of seconds
- Amnesia regarding the accident itself
- Ringing in ears
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Delayed response to questions
Keep in mind that these signs of concussion might not appear for hours or days after a motor vehicle accident. That said, this does not mean you should wait for these symptoms to appear before you visit a doctor.
Visiting a doctor in the immediate aftermath of an accident will allow you to start building up evidence if you decide to move forward with a personal injury case.
Otherwise, an insurance adjuster might argue that your injuries were caused by something other than the accident since you waited to seek medical assistance.
Headaches are one of the most common injury symptoms experienced after a concussion. They usually present as a dull ache around the forehead, temples, or back of the head, although some patients may experience a more intense throbbing pain. Typically, post-concussion headaches start days or weeks after the injury and can last for several months.
It’s important to differentiate between post-concussion headaches and post-traumatic headaches. Post-concussion headaches are directly related to the injury and are a hallmark symptom of post-concussion syndrome.
Meanwhile, post-traumatic headaches can occur in individuals who suffered from a traumatic brain injury but didn’t necessarily experience a concussion.
Persistent headaches after a concussion may be due to several factors, including age, gender, previous history of headache disorders, and the severity of the concussion.
Fortunately, there are various treatment methods to alleviate post-concussion headaches, such as identifying and avoiding triggers, taking medications, and incorporating alternative therapies like acupuncture.
Loss of Consciousness
Loss of consciousness is a potential occurrence after an accident and can indicate obvious signs of brain trauma. It’s important to note that not all concussions result in loss of consciousness; however, it can be a significant sign of brain injury. The force of the accident, such as striking the windshield or steering wheel, can cause loss of consciousness.
Loss of consciousness occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, causing the individual to become unresponsive and unaware of their surroundings.
If an individual loses consciousness after an accident, it can indicate a severe concussion that requires immediate medical care.
After an individual experiences a concussion, they may experience confusion as a symptom. Confusion is described as difficulty focusing and processing information. This symptom can range from mild to severe and can last for varying lengths of time.
Confusion can have potential complications, such as post-traumatic vertigo, which results in dizziness and balance issues. Another complication that can arise is post-concussive syndrome, which is a condition where symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and sleep disturbances can persist for weeks or months after the injury.
Amnesia is a common symptom that can result from a car accident. It’s a condition where a person experiences memory loss or has difficulty recalling memories they once had.
There are two types of amnesia: retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia affects a person’s ability to recall past memories, while anterograde amnesia affects their ability to form new memories.
After being in a car accident, a person may experience temporary amnesia, which can last for a few hours or days.
In some cases, the amnesia can be severe and may persist for a longer period, affecting their daily life and activities.
A doctor can perform concentration tests, immediate memory tests, and orientation tests to determine the severity of the amnesia.
These tests can help a doctor assess how much of the brain’s functioning has been affected and the extent of damage caused by the accident. 
Dizziness or Loss of Balance
One of the common symptoms of a concussion after an accident is dizziness or loss of balance. This can make it difficult for the person to maintain balance or stand without feeling disoriented. As a result, they may have trouble walking steadily or feel unsteady on their feet.
A doctor can perform imaging tests to determine the extent of the injury and provide appropriate medical treatment.
Recovery periods can vary from person to person, but physical and mental activity should be avoided until cleared by a medical professional. Returning to normal activities too soon can delay complete recovery and increase the risk of post-concussion syndrome.
Tinnitus is a symptom that can indicate a concussion. When the inner ear is damaged due to a head injury, the brain attempts to repair itself by creating a ringing or buzzing sound. This can be accompanied by dizziness and difficulty concentrating.
To manage tinnitus after a concussion, avoiding loud areas is advised as loud noises can exacerbate the symptoms. The use of a white noise machine can also help to decrease the perception of the ringing or buzzing sound. In addition to tinnitus, another auditory symptom of concussion is noise sensitivity.
Blurry Vision or Light Sensitivity
Blurry vision and light sensitivity are caused by the impact of the concussion on the optic nerve and the brain’s visual centers.
The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting information between the eyes and the brain, while the visual centers process this information to create the images we see.
When the brain is injured through a concussion, these functions can be disrupted, resulting in blurry vision and light sensitivity.
Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common concussion injury symptoms experienced after a car accident.
The effects of a concussion can cause disturbance in vestibular functioning associated with a feeling of vertigo and a sense of unsteadiness.
Nausea may also be a symptom due to the impact of the concussion on various aspects of the brain, including the vestibular system which plays a vital role in balance and coordination.
Constant vomiting, on the other hand, is a telltale sign of a brain injury and requires an immediate trip to the emergency department.
It indicates increased pressure inside the skull which could lead to permanent brain damage if not dealt with promptly.
It could also indicate post-concussion syndrome, which involves a cluster of symptoms that occur after a concussion.
Changes in Sleep Patterns
Changes in sleep patterns are a possible symptom of a concussion. A concussion can disrupt the brain’s sleep-wake cycle, leading to difficulty falling asleep or sleeping more or less than normal.
Changes in sleep patterns after a concussion are common, with many people experiencing difficulty sleeping. Some may struggle to fall asleep, while others may sleep more than normal. These disruptions are caused by changes to the brain’s sleep-wake cycle and can lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
Concussion victims may have slurred speech. It occurs when the brain is unable to communicate properly with the muscles involved in speech. Slurred speech may be accompanied by other symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and nausea.
If you or someone you know experiences slurred speech after an accident or injury, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. A medical professional can assess the severity of the concussion and provide appropriate medical care.
Delayed Response to Questions
When someone has a concussion, the brain can’t work correctly, which may result in sluggish speech, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and depression. Delayed concussion symptoms can range from mild to severe, and if left untreated, they can lead to post-concussion syndrome or permanent brain damage.
One of the most critical steps in treating head injuries is identifying them early. Delayed responses to questions can be an obvious sign of head injury and should be taken seriously.
While some individuals may feel tired immediately after the injury, others may experience it for days or even weeks post-injury. Fatigue can manifest in different ways, such as feeling constantly tired, lacking energy, and difficulty concentrating or processing information.
To aid in the healing process, it is essential to get proper rest both physically and mentally. This means avoiding vigorous physical and mental activity and ensuring an adequate amount of sleep.
Overexertion can lead to worsened fatigue and potentially delayed recovery. By taking the necessary time to get physical rest and recuperate, individuals can help their bodies and brains heal more efficiently and effectively.
Other Possible Symptoms
One less common symptom of a concussion is feeling pressure inside the head. This pressure can be accompanied by a sensation of fullness or tightness. Some may also report feeling numbness or tingling in certain parts of the body, such as the arms or legs.
Coordination may also be affected, and individuals may have difficulty performing physical activities that were once routine. They may also experience trouble with balance, which can lead to falls or accidents.
Occasionally, a concussion can cause an individual to exhibit unusual behavior. This can present as confusion, irritability, or aggression, and may be concerning for friends and family members.
It is important to recognize that these less common symptoms can still be indicative of a concussion, and medical attention should be sought if they are experienced.
Other concussion signs you should be aware of after being involved in an accident include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Changes in personality
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Sleep disturbances
- Taste disorders
- Smell disorders
While the most common cause of concussions is usually falls, this injury can easily occur during a motor vehicle accident if a person hits their head on the steering wheel, the airbag, or strikes their head against the headrest or window.
Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you begin to experience:
- Repeated vomiting
- Loss of consciousness that lasts more than 30 seconds
- Worsening headaches
- Changes in physical coordination, such as stumbling
- Confusion or disorientation
Car Accidents & Concussions
Car accidents can be a common cause of concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury. The jarring impact of a collision can cause the brain to move within the skull, leading to damage. The severity of the concussion depends on several factors, such as speed, direction and force of impact, and use of seat belts or airbags.
Even if an injured person did not strike their head on the steering wheel or other parts of the vehicle, they could still sustain a concussion in a motor vehicle accident.
The sudden acceleration and deceleration that often leads to whiplash injuries can cause the brain to move around in the skull, which causes bleeding in and around the brain. If left untreated, this can be potentially life-threatening.
More often than not, accident victims who sustain concussions are able to achieve a full recovery and only require a period of rest before being able to gradually resume all normal duties.
Personal Injury Attorney in Las Vegas
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is a traumatic and shocking experience, often leaving survivors with costly medical bills and lost wages. If you sustained injuries in an accident that was caused by a negligent party, contact the Las Vegas personal injury, accident lawyers at Shook & Stone. We will vigilantly fight for your right to the fair and just compensation you deserve.
Do not hesitate to reach out to us today! Call us at (702) 385-2220 to schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team!
 Memory Loss after an Auto Accident | Florida Physical Medicine. (n.d.). Florida Physical Medicine. https://floridaphysicalmedicine.com/memory-loss/