The most common injuries reported in Colorado Springs car accidents are head injuries, including concussions and Whiplash. Concussions can range from mild to severe, and symptoms may disappear quickly or last for years. The most misunderstood injury commonly caused by auto accidents is whiplash, people sometimes assume that whiplash sufferers are malingering or even faking their injuries. Recognizing the symptoms of a concussion or whiplash can prevent additional damage or even save a life in the case of a concussion.
Sometimes called a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI), a concussion occurs after a hard blow to the head, or when the head is shaken and the brain actually collides with the inside of the skull. After any head injury, it is important to look for the symptoms that can signify a concussion. Anyone exhibiting any of these signs after being hit on the head should seek medical attention right away. While the symptoms of a mild concussion may resolve within a few days, hematomas (blood clots) or swelling in the brain may develop after a head injury. These conditions are serious and can be life- threatening.
Here are some of the common symptoms of concussions:
This is not a comprehensive list of all possible concussion symptoms: Any changes in behavior, appearance, or one’s physical or mental condition after a blow to the head may be signs of a concussion.Some of these symptoms may appear similar to the behavior of a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol and might be overlooked if the sufferer had been drinking prior to an accident. It is not safe to assume that the presence of any symptoms following a head injury is caused only by intoxication. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and seek medical attention.
The best way to prevent a concussion when riding or driving in a motor vehicle is to wear a seatbelt and adjust the headrest properly. Many head injuries occur when a driver or passenger is thrown forward into a car’s windshield, or even ejected from the car completely. A driver or passenger whose injuries are worsened because he was not wearing a seatbelt may even have an award or settlement reduced, under the doctrine of comparative negligence or Colorado’s seatbelt statute.
Even though there is no helmet law for bicyclists in Colorado, and motorcycle riders over age 18, a helmet is the best way to prevent head injuries for bicyclists and motorcyclists. Concussions are very dangerous for young children, so proper child safety equipment in a car, and helmets for bike riding can save a child’s life.
Even a relatively minor accident can lead to concussion injuries. As the driver of a vehicle, if you experienced a head injury and lost consciousness, even for a short period of time, you should not drive. If you have lost consciousness, or have any of the symptoms described above, ask for an ambulance. A concussion does not follow every head injury, but even a seemingly minor injury—including whiplash—could lead to a concussion. If you think you might have experienced any head injury in a Colorado Springs car accident, seek medical care, even if you are not exhibiting any symptoms. Symptoms of a concussion may not appear until hours or even days after an accident.Do not try to give a statement to the police or to an investigator if you have had a head injury. Your judgment or memory might be impaired, and you may make a statement that will hurt you later on. Wait until you have seen a doctor and until you feel stable and comfortable. If your memory of the accident is unclear, it is better to say you don’t remember than to report inaccurate information. Talk to a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer before you talk to an insurance investigator.
About 10% of people who experience a concussion will develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS). A diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome is made when some of the symptoms associated with a concussion continue long after the concussion is healed. PCS symptoms may last years, and, in rare cases, can be permanent. There is no way to predict who will develop PCS, but it is more common in older people and in women. Psychological symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, mood swings, and depression, are more common in individuals who have a history of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and who are undergoing significant stress in their lives. Repeated injuries to the head can eventually lead to severe neurological problems that are permanent and life- altering. Former boxer Mike Tyson is the most famous example of an individual suffering from severe PCS symptoms due to multiple head injuries.
If you have experienced a concussion after a Colorado Springs car accident, you may be compensated for your medical bills, loss of work, and for your pain and suffering, including the effects of the concussion on your daily activities. Even if you have a pre-existing condition, it may be possible to receive compensation by proving that the head trauma made the condition worse, or caused additional symptoms. For example, a PTSD sufferer may have made significant progress with treatment, only to have that progress interrupted after a head injury. Someone who has a history of depression might find their symptoms worsening. Evidence of the worsening of a pre-existing condition might be:
Personal testimony, statements from family and friends, and reports from an individual’s doctors may help prove how an accident aggravated a pre-existing condition.