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Car accidents and head injuries: what you need to know

In the aftermath of a car accident, injuries are not always apparent right away. In many cases, it can take hours or days for symptoms to appear, especially for injuries that affect the brain.

Regardless of whether signs of head trauma develop shortly after a crash or take time to appear, understanding how these injuries manifest can help to prevent further, often life-altering damage.

Head injuries

Trauma to the head, brain or neck may occur whether a motor vehicle accident involves blows to the head or not. Jarring and sudden movements can result in traumatic brain injuries that cause both physical and psychological symptoms ranging in severity.

Common head injuries sustained in car accidents include:

  • Concussions
  • Contusions, including coup-contrecoup contusions that affect both sides
  • Injuries in which objects break through the skin or skull
  • Diffuse axonal injuries, caused by violent rotations of the head

Severe head injuries often result in immediate symptoms, but it is crucial to seek medical attention even if mild symptoms occur after a crash.


It is easy to ignore or misunderstand the symptoms of a head injury, which can delay essential medical care after an accident. Even if an injury does not seem serious, it is important to see a doctor if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Memory loss
  • Concentration problems
  • Coordination delays
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Increased sensitivity to light or sound

Should an accident result in a head injury, a medical evaluation is necessary to ensure a proper recovery. Treating head injuries is often costly and it may take a long time to recover.

Fortunately, there are options. A thorough medical exam is crucial for personal injury claims after car accidents to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and any suffering or damages sustained due to the crash.


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