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Concussions After a Car Accident: Identifying and Managing Symptoms

Learn about the risks, symptoms, and legal options for concussions after a car accident with insights from Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, your trusted legal advisors.

We are personal injury experts who have achieved results for our clients in Missouri for over 40 years.

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Amid the clamor of metal and the shattering of glass, the human brain is susceptible to an insidious kind of injury veiled by the chaos of a car accident. Every shift and jolt in such an event can thrust the brain against the skull, potentially leading to a concussion. Though often termed ‘mild,’ this type of brain injury can affect our cognition, balance, and well-being.

The brain, the command center of our every thought and movement, can suffer significantly even from what seems like a trivial lump or blow to the head during a car accident. Common symptoms such as headaches or dizziness may hint at a more profound disturbance. Studies show that in the United States, vehicle collisions are a leading cause of concussions, causing a spectrum of cognitive and physical symptoms that could persist for weeks or even months.

We should not only seek medical attention after a concussion but also consider the legal ramifications and protections needed in the wake of such an event. At Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, our seasoned personal injury attorneys have witnessed the profound impact concussions can have following a car accident. We are committed to providing victims with the legal assistance they require. We understand the critical, vulnerable period after a concussion and ensure that our clients are never alone. 

What Is a Concussion?

Have you ever wondered how a seemingly simple bump on the head can disrupt the complex workings of your brain? Medical reports describe a concussion as a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), highlighting the brain’s susceptibility to injury. When the head suffers an impact or a sudden acceleration-deceleration motion—such as in car accidents—our brain can be jostled within the skull—the result is a temporary alteration in brain function.

A concussion after a car accident is not just about headaches; they are a constellation of troubling symptoms. Symptoms may include dizziness, confusion, and, in some cases, a brief loss of consciousness. Each concussion is a unique event but is always a signal that the brain has been, in some way, injured.

The Impact of Concussion on the Brain 

When we sustain a concussion, the brain experiences trauma that can lead to a cascade of cellular events. While the skull provides a defensive shield, it cannot absorb all the forces of sudden jolts, which means the brain is susceptible to serious injury upon violent movement. This vulnerability can lead to concussions even without a direct hit to the head, as can occur in car accident injuries.

We know now that any subsequent impacts, even minor ones, can aggravate the injury—a phenomenon called second impact syndrome. Individuals with a concussion must avoid further head injury by promptly receiving proper medical attention. The brain, after such an event, requires time to heal.

Symptoms of Concussions After a Car Accident

Concussions can manifest an array of symptoms that impact one’s physical, cognitive, and emotional state, according to medical studies. What makes these symptoms particularly insidious is their capacity to remain hidden, only to emerge hours or even days post-accident. For this reason, close observation is essential. 

Below, we’ve cataloged the symptoms that warrant immediate attention: 

  • Headaches and nausea: These are often the initial signals of distress.
  • Balance issues: This symptom may become apparent as one attempts to stand or walk.
  • Drowsiness: This can be pervasive despite adequate rest.
  • Fatigue: It might seem disproportionate to the individual’s level of activity.
  • Cognitive difficulties manifest as memory lapses or an inability to think clearly.

If symptoms like these are observed, seek medical attention promptly.

Diagnosing and Treating Concussions

Can we fully grasp the invisible injury that strikes so suddenly? It’s a jarring reality that after a car accident, a concussion—though often invisible to the naked eye—can shake the very foundation of our brain’s function. As health and safety advocates, we acknowledge the intricacy of diagnosing such a complex condition. Typically, we associate a concussion with immediate symptoms like confusion or headaches; however, some effects may linger or appear hours later, necessitating vigilant medical attention.

Medical Evaluation

Upon suspecting head trauma, it’s imperative to seek medical evaluation. Physicians may conduct a physical and neurological examination to assess symptoms, such as sleep problems or difficulties with concentration. For individuals presenting worrying signs—severe headaches, seizures, or persistent vomiting—it is prudent to employ imaging tests. 

Medical reports indicate that an MRI or CT scan can detect possible bleeding or swelling in the brain, which is vital for determining the appropriate treatment strategy. These imaging technologies are foundational in assessing the extent of brain injury.

Accurately diagnosing and treating a concussion is critical, not only for the health and recovery of the person affected but also for any ensuing legal actions. Concussions, being internal injuries, often lack immediate visible symptoms, making comprehensive medical documentation indispensable for substantiating the injury’s severity in legal disputes. Such evidence becomes a cornerstone for securing appropriate compensation, demonstrating the profound effects of the concussion on the victim’s life.

Concussion Protocol

Following diagnosis, we enter the concussion protocol, a structured plan of action. This plan’s core lies in mental and physical rest, which is critical to recovery. Medications might be prescribed to alleviate pain, but they are not a solitary solution. As we contemplate the road to recovery, we recognize that rest is not simply the cessation of activity—it is a deliberate, monitored process that often involves limited exposure to stimuli that could exacerbate symptoms, like loud noises and bright lights.


Rehabilitation is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Some may benefit from neuropsychological tests to gauge cognitive function, while others require an eye test to address vision disturbances. Each step is taken with precision and care, understanding the gravity of every decision on the pathway to healing.

Our concern extends beyond immediate medical costs; the longer-term financial impacts cannot be disregarded. Post-accident trauma not only inflicts physical and emotional strain but also adds a layer of potential financial stress, with follow-up medical expenses and lost wages.

Legal Rights and Options

In the aftermath of a car accident, understanding your legal rights is critical, especially if you’re suffering from concussion symptoms. It’s essential to navigate the intricacies of healthcare systems and ensure your recovery period is well-supported.

We know that a concussion – a type of traumatic brain injury – not only bears immediate implications but also carries the potential for long-term effects. Consequently, they often demand immediate treatment and prompt visits to a healthcare provider or emergency department. In light of such distressing events, it’s essential to understand your legal rights and entitlements:

  • Healthcare Rights: You can access adequate and appropriate healthcare services to treat your injury.
  • Coverage for Medical Expenses: Your legal rights ensure you can obtain coverage for the medical expenses incurred due to the concussion.
  • Compensation for Lost Wages: If the injury has caused you to miss work, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages.
  • Pain and Suffering Compensation: If the accident caused physical pain or emotional trauma, you can seek compensation for pain and suffering. 

Keep in mind that proving the extent of your injuries, including the symptoms and impact of the concussion, is a fundamental part of claiming these rights. At Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, our team of personal injury lawyers practices cases related to concussions and traumatic brain injuries. 

Why Choose Buchanan Williams & O’Brien?

When encountering the complexities of legal claims and insurance procedures, Buchanan Williams & O’Brien becomes an ally with profound experience in handling car accident repercussions, including concussions. We advocate for personalized legal support tailored to your specific case, making it our mission to help ease the burden during your recovery. Our commitment to your well-being means:

  • Evidence Gathering: We assist in gathering evidence of your concussion symptoms and additional injuries. Additionally, we can demonstrate that the delayed-onset injuries you are experiencing were incurred during the accident.
  • Calculating Costs: Accurately determining the financial impact, including medical bills and lost wages.
  • Navigating Claims: Guiding you through insurance and legal processes with professional proficiency.
  • Monetary Valuations in Life Quality Adjustments: Assigning a monetary value to the overall alteration in the victim’s quality of life

Achieve Justice with Buchanan Williams & O’Brien – Your Path to Recovery Starts Here

Understanding the profound impacts of concussions, especially following a car accident, is crucial. While these brain injuries might appear mild, they have the significant potential to disrupt everyday life. Common aftermath symptoms include memory issues, balance problems, and coordination difficulties. Experiencing such symptoms can lead to a confusing and concerning period.

Key actions to take after such incidents include seeking immediate medical evaluation to check for concussions, watching for symptoms that persist or worsen, and following a customized recovery plan involving rest and rehabilitation. Should symptoms extend beyond the typical recovery timeframe, it’s essential to consider the possibility of post-concussion syndrome. The need for ongoing medical care is paramount, as prolonged issues like headaches, dizziness, and cognitive challenges could emerge.

Concussions aren’t just brief setbacks; they can result in long-term health complications. Taking appropriate steps post-accident is critical for physical recovery and protecting your legal rights. If you need help with how to proceed following a car accident injury, Buchanan Williams & O’Brien offers compassionate and skilled legal support. Contact us for a complimentary consultation and allow our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys to guide you through this difficult path, leading you toward justice and recovery.

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