The majority of people experience occasional headaches, and a headache and minor nausea after a crash are relatively common car accident injuries. However, if your symptoms don’t resolve within a few days, a headache after a car accident may be your body’s way of telling you that you have an unseen injury.
Your mildly aching head may result from bumping your head on a window or the steering wheel during the wreck, or you may have a much more serious injury like a traumatic brain injury. You may also have a headache if you suffered whiplash in the collision. If you suffered a head injury in a car accident, the Greenwald Law Firm could help you pursue your legal options and file a claim for your losses.
The Louisiana statute of limitations only allows victims to file a personal injury claim for one year. That is why it’s important that you move quickly and contact our law firm’s Shreveport traumatic brain injury lawyers for a free consultation regarding your potential case.
Types of Head Injuries From Car Accidents
The impact of a car crash and the force exerted on the human body when a vehicle is struck by another can cause several types of head injuries. Some injuries are immediately apparent, while others take time to reveal themselves. Whether you notice your head injury immediately or after time passes, you need medical treatment to avoid a worsening condition.
Accident victims often sustain the following types of head injuries in an auto accident:
Acquired Brain Injuries
The traumatic force of the accident does not cause acquired brain injuries. Instead, throat injuries, blood loss, lung and rib damage, and chest complications sustained in the motor vehicle accident may lead to health conditions that directly affect the brain.
A concussion is one of the most common head injuries after a motor vehicle collision. A sudden change in momentum, movement, or a blow to the head can cause this brain trauma. Concussions may also present with less severe symptoms such as confusion or dizziness.
A contusion is a medical term for a bruise. Swelling and pain are signs of a head contusion. Risks such as blood clots, memory issues, and difficulty speaking accompany contusion injuries. Brain bruises can be severe and require surgical intervention.
A coup-contrecoup brain injury happens when both sides of the brain sustain injuries. Coup is the side of the brain that takes the impact, and contrecoup is the opposite side. Coup-contrecoup lesions can occur when the brain jolts within the skull. Shearing of the internal brain lining, tissues, and blood vessels may happen when the brain jars against the sides of the skull. Bruising, internal bleeding, and brain swelling may result.
Rollover car accidents and other types of violent or forceful collisions cause this type of traumatic brain injury when the brain strikes the inside of the skull.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
A diffuse axonal injury occurs when brain structures tear because of extreme head rotation. Causes of diffuse axonal injury include slips and falls, car accidents, or shaken baby syndrome. Side effects such as severe headaches, migraine headaches, seizures, and memory loss or collapse accompany this extreme type of concussion. Rehabilitation is typically used to treat milder conditions, but in some severe cases, diffuse axonal may even result in coma or wrongful death.
As the name implies, penetration happens when an object enters the brain. A common sign of penetration is an excess of blood exiting the head. The wound may be to the skull or deep enough to reach the brain. Additional symptoms include intense headaches, exhaustion, and breathing difficulties.
A break in the skull is called a skull fracture. The four major types of skull fractures include linear skull fracture, depressed skull fracture, diastatic skull fracture, and basilar skull fracture.
Can Whiplash Cause Headaches?
Whiplash occurs from a sudden and violent jolt of the head, which is why it is such a common injury in a motor vehicle accident. Whiplash injuries can certainly cause a headache after a car accident. Patients suffering a whiplash injury after an auto collision often feel pain at the back of their head where their skull and neck connect. The neck pain may extend to the temples, front of the head, top of the head, or down the neck. The pain may be constant or intermittent.
Sprained or strained ligaments and tendons in the upper neck may cause whiplash headaches. Sprains and strains usually heal within 6-8 weeks. A more severe injury may exist when the injury symptoms linger. Moving the neck, such as when texting, driving, or viewing a computer monitor, may increase pain.
Types of Headaches
If you’ve experienced constant headache symptoms after a traumatic event, do not ignore it! Headaches after a car collision may indicate a range of injuries that you must take seriously.
Accident victims experiencing cervicogenic headaches may become dizzy or feel like the room is spinning. Muscle strain or injuries to the nerves, ligaments, joints, and arteries in the upper neck and back of the head cause these chronic headaches. These headaches are also known as pinched nerve headaches, as a pinched nerve in the neck can cause cervicogenic headaches.
Chronic Facial Headaches
Severe bursts of pain along the jaw and cheek characterize chronic facial headaches. Also known as trigeminal neuralgia, pressure on the trigeminal nerve near the upper earlobe causes head pain. The nerve branches along the lower jaw, above and below the eye, and into the nose and ear.
An acute type of headache, cluster headaches occur in groups and cause behind-the-eye pain.
When a skull or neck bone fractures, it often emits localized pain. Other symptoms of a fracture include neck stiffness, slurred speech, confusion, and nausea.
Migraines cause sharp or severe throbbing pain in a halo around the skull or on the sides of the head. The headaches have a range of triggers and may be chronic or episodic. Migraines may begin or occur more frequently after a Shreveport car accident.
Nerve Dysfunction Headaches
When the Greater Occipital Nerve that runs across the scalp is inflamed or damaged, an occipital neuralgia headache may occur. The headaches present with a throbbing or shocking pain in the upper neck, behind the ears, or back of the head. A head or neck injury, pinched nerve, or muscle tightness in the neck may cause the nerve injury.
Post-traumatic headaches are secondary headaches that may develop approximately one week after a trauma or injury to the head.
Tension-type headaches are a steady ache brought on by muscle tension and stress.
Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Many brain injury sufferers do not realize they have a brain injury. Instead, many people confuse their mild traumatic brain injuries with other health issues. For example, a person may use over-the-counter medication to treat what they believe to be a bad headache when they actually have a concussion.
Catastrophic injuries like this may worsen when immediate treatment is not received. The following symptoms may indicate that you need medical treatment:
Difficulty Thinking and Concentrating
Thinking may slow when parts of the brain are under stress because of swelling or bruising. Some people also experience memory loss and have difficulty concentrating because the parts of the brain that regulate focus and attention are impaired. You need medical attention if you experience these symptoms after an accident, as these effects may worsen over time.
Difficulty Handling Emotions
Every part of the brain handles different bodily processes or functions. The brain’s limbic system handles emotions. Because the limbic system is behind the eyes, it may experience extreme stress if struck by outside forces.
Headaches and Seizures
The most common indications of a car accident head injury are seizures and headaches. Seizures signal traumatic injuries, while headaches may be a symptom of lighter injuries unless the headaches are persistent.
Loss of Consciousness
A person should visit a medical professional if they lose consciousness and awaken not knowing where they are or how long they were out. The brain may be experiencing stress, or critical parts of the brain may be affected.
Additional symptoms of a brain injury include:
- Balance or coordination difficulties
- Debilitating pain
- Dilated or uneven pupils
- Low level of alertness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Numb extremities
- Light or sound sensitivity
- Slurred speech
- Visual disturbances
Although unusual, some people do not experience any symptoms after a sudden and violent head jolt. Anyone with head trauma must see a physician to reduce the chance of the complications listed above.
How Long Does a Headache Last After a Concussion?
A head injury victim may experience post-traumatic headaches for an extended time if they strike their head hard enough to make their brain move around in their skull. Depending on the injury’s severity, concussion symptoms may last a few days to a few months.
- Post-Traumatic Headache: concussion-related headaches may not occur until an entire week following the accident.
- Post-Traumatic Vertigo: some people may experience a sense of dizziness or spinning for days, weeks, or even months after a head injury.
- Post-Concussion Syndrome: fifteen to twenty percent of those with head injuries may have symptoms lasting longer than three weeks. Medical professionals characterize headaches, thinking difficulties, and dizziness lasting longer than three months as persistent post-concussive symptoms.
What To Do After Potential Head Injury
You should visit a healthcare provider immediately after experiencing a violent jolt or closed head injury in an accident. Your doctor conducts an assessment that typically includes a neurological exam. The exam evaluates coordination, reflexes, thinking, eye movement, motor, and sensory functions. Imaging tests cannot detect all brain injuries; however, they help rule out more serious injuries. CT scans and MRIs can detect bleeding that requires medical or surgical intervention.
How a Shreveport Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you received a head injury in a vehicle collision, you might be able to recover financial compensation. Car accident headaches can be debilitating and a symptom of a more severe health issue. A Shreveport personal injury lawyer like Joey Greenwald can help you recoup damages for your economic and non-economic damages.
Head injury victims could potentially receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of Life
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Wrongful death
Call Shreveport Attorney Joey Greenwald Today If You Have a Headache After Car Accident
One of the most common injuries Shreveport car accident victims suffer is a traumatic brain injury. The persistent headaches that accompany head injuries can be a significant health burden. Headache pain after a car accident can affect your focus, productivity, relationships, and quality of life.
Not only do painful headaches impact your daily life, but they may also be a sign of a more severe injury if you sustained a blow to the head. Don’t ignore frequent headaches and hope they go away. Your pain may require medical treatment.
Shreveport car accident attorney Joey Greenwald has decades of experience helping clients recover the compensation they need to pay for long-term medical care and rehabilitative therapy. Attorney Greenwald puts you in touch with specialists that help you heal and negotiates with the insurance company to maximize your damages. Let the personal injury attorneys at the Greenwald Law Firm do the hard work for you while you rest and recover from your injuries. Get help today by calling our legal team at (318) 219-7867.