If you suffer any impact to your head in a car accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Even slight contact with the dashboard, steering wheel, windshield, or any other surface or object in the car could result in a concussion or a more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can only worsen if left undiagnosed and untreated.
Symptoms of Head Injuries
If you suffer any of the symptoms listed below after hitting your head on anything in a car crash, you could have a head injury that requires immediate treatment:
- Loss of consciousness
- Trouble breathing
- Bleeding from the head or face
- Bruising behind the ears or below the eyes
- Slurred speech
- Unequal dilation of pupils
- Weakness in limbs
- Lack of balance
Small children who suffer head injuries might cry or refuse to eat. An infant with a head injury might have a soft spot on the forehead.
It Is Important to Seek Medical Care
If you have any head injury symptoms and are not transported to a hospital after your wreck, you should seek medical care right away at an emergency room or with your primary care doctor. If you can’t get an immediate appointment, go to an urgent care facility for an exam and diagnostic testing and follow up with your doctor as soon as possible. Even if you have no symptoms, you should still be checked out right away. In some cases, the adrenaline resulting from the experience of the crash can mask symptoms for days or longer.
X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an electroencephalogram (EEG), or a computerized tomography (CT)/computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan could reveal a fractured skull or brain injury of which you’re unaware. Quick diagnosis and treatment can get you on the road to the soonest possible recovery and provide you with documentation of injuries you’ve suffered in the crash. This documentation is vital to your damage claim if your accident was caused by someone else, so you should keep all receipts and other records of your treatment, physical therapy, medications, and related expenses.
Protecting Your Damage Claim
If another motorist caused your wreck, you could be entitled to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your medical bills, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you have only a mild head injury, your medical bills might be low and your time off work short. Rest and medication could be sufficient to restore you to good health.
A moderate or severe head injury, however, might require a hospital stay and more intensive treatment. For a traumatic brain injury, you might need surgery, ongoing therapy, and a longer time to recover. In such a case, your claim will be an expensive one that the at-fault driver’s insurer will try to delay, devalue, or deny. If you’re physically able to do so, you can take the following specific steps at the scene of the crash to strengthen and protect your damage claim:
- Call 911 to report your accident.
- While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, take photos of the vehicles involved and the scene of the crash, including the road surface, skid marks, and damaged guard rails, trees, or poles.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) but don’t discuss the accident or argue.
- Get contact information from any witnesses to the wreck.
- Note the location of nearby security or red-light cameras that might have video footage of the accident.
- When the police arrive, answer their questions truthfully but basically. Find out how to get a copy of the police report.
- Contact your own insurance company but avoid communicating with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
- Do not apologize or admit any fault for anything to anyone.
- Consult an experienced car accident lawyer who can evaluate your case, help you with your insurance claim, handle all communications with the defendant’s insurer, and file a lawsuit on your behalf if you’re not offered reasonable compensation for your damages.
If you’re not able to carry out any of the steps above on your own, ask for help in doing so and focus on your immediate medical needs. Don’t be in a hurry to repair your vehicle, which could provide valuable evidence in the crash investigation.
Did You Hit Your Head in a Car Accident in Virginia?
After seeking medical care, your next step toward justice is contacting an experienced car accident attorney who can help you seek fair compensation while you focus on your recovery. Contact us online or call us at 540-341-0007 to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.