Head injuries are very common after car accidents. Even though the victim may not have obvious injuries, such as bleeding or broken bones, head injuries are often much worse. Brain injuries range from minor to fatal. What may seem like a slight bump to the head may cause serious, long-term damage.
Not all injuries after a car accident show up right away. That’s why it’s always wise to ask an attorney in Corpus Christi about your rights as a victim. Symptoms of a closed-head injury may take days or weeks to develop. Be on the lookout for these hidden symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI):
Pretty much everyone deals with a headache at some point. However, if you develop a headache following an automobile accident, there may be internal damage. Headaches are common in minor, moderate, and severe brain injuries, and nearly 30-percent of patients experience long-term headaches following a TBI.
Headaches that form as the result of a head injury may manifest in many different ways. Some people may develop frequent migraines, while others may experience tension headaches. You should report any headache after a TBI to your doctor right away.
- Sensitivity to Light or Sound
Do bright lights make you wince in pain? Do you want to cover your ears whenever you hear loud noises? Sudden sensitivity to light or sound is a common symptom of a brain injury. These sensitivities may form immediately following an accident, or the symptoms may develop slowly over time.
The brain regulates how a person responds to both light and sound. Bleeding or swelling in the brain may inhibit these pathways. As a result, you may no longer be able to listen to loud music or be around fluorescent lighting without experiencing pain. While these sensitivities may diminish over time, some people never recover fully.
- Uncharacteristic Moodiness
Some TBI sufferers may become increasingly moody. While it’s normal to feel irritable at times, it’s not normal to suddenly develop a short temper for no apparent reason. Head injury victims may not notice these changes, but their friends and family often report a noticeable shift in the patient’s demeanor.
If you feel crankier after hitting your head in a car accident, a trip to the doctor is in order. Damage to the part of the brain that regulates moods may be responsible. While your short temper will most likely improve, you may need medication in the meantime.
- Involuntary Emotional Outbursts
Laughing at an inappropriate time is never socially acceptable. However, many TBI patients have uncontrollable emotional outbursts. They may cry or laugh for no apparent reason at all. Worst of all, it’s completely involuntary. This phenomenon is known as pseudobulbar affect (PBA).
To know how traumatic brain injuries can affect you or your loved ones’ moodiness, you can read more here and learn what your immediate response should be. Since this brain injury symptom isn’t widely known, many people suffer in silence.
- Paralyzing Anxiety
It’s completely normal to feel anxious on occasion. A job interview or first date may make your heart race. However, many TBI patients also develop severe anxiety, even if they’ve never dealt with mental illness before.
After an automobile accident, many people feel nervous about driving a vehicle. If the person also has a closed-head injury, these feelings may become overwhelming. Damage to the prefrontal cortex or hippocampus may further exacerbate anxiety. A doctor may prescribe medications to help.
- Brain Fog
Were you in a car accident and now find it difficult to focus? You have a condition known as brain fog. It’s one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions following a closed-head injury. Brain fog can impair problem-solving skills or make it difficult to process information.
Even if a person doesn’t have any obvious physical disabilities after a car accident, extreme brain fog can be extremely debilitating. Some sufferers struggle at work or school. Depression is a common co-morbidity of brain fog.
- General Forgetfulness
Everyone is forgetful at times, but those with a brain injury may find themselves forgetting things regularly. Brain damage may cause short-term memory loss. This symptom may subside as inflammation in the head decreases, but some patients struggle with forgetfulness for years following a head injury.
- Decreased Reaction Time
Reaction time is how quickly a person responds to certain stimuli. The brain makes a fast determination as to whether or not something is a threat. It also triggers the fight or flight response. However, those with a TBI often have slower reaction times.
A decreased reaction time may affect a person’s ability to drive a car or operate heavy machinery. Those with slower reaction times be unable to remove themselves from dangerous situations quickly. Unfortunately, this head injury symptom may last for years.
- Loss of Taste or Smell
After a brain injury, some patients no longer enjoy their favorite foods. They may no longer be able to smell a blooming rose garden. Loss of taste and smell affects about one-quarter of TBI patients. Symptoms typically get better after a few months, but some people report decreased taste or smell several years after an accident.
- Changes in Vision
Brain injuries may affect the optic nerve. When this happens, a person may notice changes in their vision. Some people report having double vision, while others may struggle to track objects with their eyes. Those who already wear glasses may need suddenly need a stronger prescription after a TBI. Vision problems may improve as swelling in the brain decreases, but permanent damage to the optic nerve may leave lingering symptoms.
Closed-head injuries can change the chemical composition of a person’s brain. Some patients even develop chronic depression. A person may lose interest in things they once enjoyed or withdraw from friends and family. Suicidal thoughts may also occur. Anyone who experiences overwhelming feelings of sadness following a brain injury should speak to a professional. Doctors can often successfully treat depression with medications.
Seek Compensation for Medical Bills After a Car Accident
Brain injuries are not only life-changing, but they also cost a lot to treat and manage. Hospital bills, doctor appointments, and therapy sessions add up quickly. You might be eligible for monetary damages if someone else’s negligence caused the car accident. An attorney will gather the facts and present all evidence on your behalf. Be sure to schedule a consultation with a local attorney to discuss the next step.