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Common Symptoms And Warning Signs Of A Concussion After A Car Accident

Car accident concussions

  1. You lost consciousness
  2. You feel in a fog
  3. You saw stars or heard ringing
  4. You feel nauseous
  5. Confusion
  6. Your speech was slurred
  7. Trouble sleeping
  8. Headaches
  9. You have mood swings 
  10. Drowsiness or difficulty waking up
  11. Sensitivity to light and noise
  12. One pupil is larger than the other
  13. Seizures

Read below for a detailed explanation of each symptom.

One of the most common injuries in a car accident is a concussion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents cause about 14 percent of all traumatic brain injuries in the United States. Concussions are a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and while dangerous, they are thankfully relatively easy to treat, manage and recover from. 

But not all concussions are alike. Some will bounce back quickly from a concussion after a car accident. Others will take weeks or months to return to normal. Remember: there is no playbook for dealing with a head injury.

It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident. If not properly diagnosed and treated, concussions can be devastating and increase in severity. 

If you or a loved one has any of the following signs of a concussion, contact a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible.

13 Warning Signs a Car Accident Gave You a Concussion

1. You lost consciousness. Many victims of a car accident will hit their head on the steering wheel, windshield, airbag or other object. Losing consciousness is an obvious sign that you suffered a concussion. Going out for even just a few seconds means your brain has sustained trauma. 

2. You feel like you are in a fog. If you feel like your brain is in a fog, you are simply feeling “out of it,” or have blurred vision, you may have a concussion.

3. You saw stars or heard ringing in ears. Seeing stars or a ringing in your ears means your brain has shaken back and forth and slammed against your skull. That is the very definition of a concussion.

4. You feel nauseous. If you begin to feel dizzy or like you need to vomit, these are signs that you have sustained some sort of head injury. A concussion affects the area of the brain that controls balance, coordination and spatial awareness. Dizziness or vertigo is a solid sign of a concussion.

5. You were confused or forgot where you were. If you’ve hit your head in an accident, you may not recall certain things or be confused about the date, time or location. Memory loss is a good indicator of a head injury, and forgetting basic things or having a difficult time remembering the accident is a possible sign of a concussion. 

6. Your speech was slurred. A brain injury can affect your ability to form words. Communication problems vary on the severity of the injury.

7. You have trouble sleeping. If your sleep schedule is disrupted after the accident, it may be a sign of a concussion.

8. Headaches. If you have headaches or migraines that won’t go away, or worsen as time goes on, you may have sustained a concussion. Even minor car accidents can lead to head injuries.

9. You have mood swings. Concussions affect all areas of the brain. If you begin to notice a change in your mood — anger, listless, frustrated, nervous, etc. — for no apparent reason, you may have suffered a concussion.

10. Drowsiness or difficulty waking up. If you can’t stay awake, feel tired, or have trouble being woken up from sleep, you should seek treatment for a concussion. Sleeping a lot is one of the main signs of a concussion.

11. You have a sensitivity to light and noise. Light sensitivity can be an immediate or long-term symptom of a concussion. The brain has a tough time adjusting to various levels of brightness after a head injury. The same goes for noises.

12. One pupil is larger than the other. If one of your pupils (the black part in the middle of the eye) is larger than the other, you should go to the doctor right away.

13. Seizures. Severe concussions can cause victims to experience seizures. 

Of course, you don’t have to hit your head for a concussion to occur.

A whiplash-type injury, where your head and neck snap around due to the force of the collision, can cause a concussion. Whiplash collisions cause your brain to move around in your skull, leading to brain bleeds.

Davis Law Group believes that every successful brain injury case starts with the injured victim having up-to-date and accurate information about the legal process. That's why our very own attorney Chris Davis has authored a free legal guide for brain injury victims titled, Brain Injury Law: A Reference Guide For TBI Accident Victims. We provide free copies of this book and others to victims and their loved ones.

Treatment for a Concussion

If you or a loved one have experienced any of the above symptoms after a motor vehicle accident, seek medical attention ASAP. Do not ignore the signs of a concussion. Don’t “tough it out.” Doing so can lead to more severe brain damage. 

The best treatment for a concussion is rest. This allows the brain to heal. Doctors recommend that victims of a concussion do the following: 

  • Get plenty of sleep/rest
  • Avoid physical exertion (sports, activities, exercise, etc.)
  • Limit activities that require mental concentration (video games, using cell phone, watching TV, etc.)
  • Cut down on school workload
  • For headaches, take Tylenol (avoid ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin and aspirin)
  • Stop drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs
  • Use a cold pack on swelling

Victims with a concussion can typically resume normal activity over the course of 1-2 weeks. Consult with a medical professional if you have any questions.

Post Concussion Syndrome and Second Impact Syndrome

As stated above, most symptoms from a concussion will go away over the course of a few days or weeks, as long as you take the proper steps and get plenty of rest. 

But some concussions don’t go away, lingering long after the accident. This is known as post concussion syndrome. Post concussion syndrome is serious, and symptoms may include bad headaches, dizziness, lack of focus, and other mental problems. If the concussion is not managed and treated, these issues will only get worse. 

Second impact syndrome is also a serious post concussion complication. If you’ve suffered a concussion, and then suffer a second concussion before the first is completely healed, the result can be negative on your health. 

Second impact syndrome means the brain swells up rapidly, and in serious cases can lead to death. The brain is already in a compromised state from the first head trauma, meaning the second impact will do much more damage.

Injury Settlements For Concussion After An Accident

If someone else’s negligence led to you suffering a concussion or traumatic brain injury in a car accident, you may be able to pursue financial compensation through the civil justice system. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, multiple parties may be held liable, and there are multiple ways for you to receive a settlement. 

Serious or long-lasting concussions can result in substantial damages and derail your life. The medical treatment alone can be extremely expensive, and missed time from work is very stressful. 

Once you have been checked out by a doctor, it’s important to seek legal help for your accident case. 

Victims that suffer a concussion are often left with many questions. Let our team of brain injury lawyers at Seattle-based Davis Law Group help you and your family through the process. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers will go above and beyond to get you the compensation you deserve. Our goal is to fight for you while you recover from your concussion, and any other injuries you may have suffered. 

For a free case evaluation, contact us today at (206) 727-4000. You can also use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started. We charge you nothing unless you win your case.


Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.