A knock to the head of anyone in a sports environment is enough to suspect a concussion. However, brain injuries caused by car accidents are often overlooked, even if medical assessments occur immediately after a collision. That is because crash-related concussions could remain hidden for up to 72 hours after direct or indirect impact.
What causes a concussion?
Concussions are traumatic brain injuries that alter cerebral functions. One of the reasons concussions go unnoticed is that they can occur even without a direct impact to the head. If, for instance, a car is rear-ended, the occupants could experience sudden forceful jerking head movements from back to front. That whiplash movement causes the brain to smash into the inner walls of the skull, damaging nerves and causing swelling or bleeding in the brain.
Direct impact with airbags, the steering wheel, dashboard or a window could cause similar damage. But brain trauma would be expected and sooner diagnosed in these circumstances than with indirect impact.
Symptoms that may become evident in the hours or days after an accident include the following:
- Noise and light sensitivity
- Blurred vision or other visual disturbances
- Impaired memory and concentration abilities
- Balance problems
Concussions are complex injuries, for which the treatment involves spending the initial 48 hours after diagnosis resting. After that, a health care team can assess the damage and prepare the patient for reintegration into regular activities. Concussions typically require physical and cognitive therapy before returning to daily living as before.
During the treatment period, and often even in the long-term, victims of car-accident-related concussions might be unable to return to work. Some might be unable to return to the same position, depending on the severity of the brain injuries. The financial and emotional consequences could be devastating, and victims might explore their legal options. If another party’s negligence caused the accident, there might be grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit in an Ontario civil court to pursue claims for financial relief.