You might think that you would know right away after a car crash if you suffered any noteworthy injuries. However, many people get hurt during collisions and don’t understand the extent of the injury they experience until much later.
Some serious medical conditions will have delayed onset symptoms. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are some of the worst injuries you might suffer in a crash and are also quite easy for people to overlook after a collision. Recognizing that you are at elevated risk of a brain injury will help you take the right steps after a motor vehicle collision.
What factors might increase your overall risk of a brain injury from a wreck?
A loss of consciousness
Fainting or losing consciousness is one of the most concerning warning signs of a potential brain injury following a crash. When someone faints or blacks out, that is a sign of likely trauma to the brain. The correlation between a temporary loss of consciousness and a brain injury is very strong, making a blackout one of the most compelling reasons to see a doctor after a crash.
Striking your head on something
Blunt force trauma is one of the leading causes of head injuries in car wrecks. If you hit your head on the windshield or the steering wheel, a bruise might not be your only medical souvenir from the crash. There could eventually be bruising and bleeding inside your skull that will cause concerning symptoms, like issues with balance or problems with memory.
A crash that destroys a vehicle
If the speed of the vehicles involved in the crash is severe enough to leave either of them undrivable, then the motions of the vehicles involved in the crash might be violent enough to cause a brain injury without someone striking their head at all. The violent motions that occur during a collision can shake someone up to the point that it causes damage to their brain.
Additionally, people will need to screen themselves for symptoms of a brain injury for several days after the crash at the very least. Nausea, persistent headache, changes in sensory perception and differences in mood are all warning signs of a potential brain injury.
Realizing that you could be hurt without knowing it can help you make better choices in the aftermath of a car crash.