Many can misunderstand head injuries as their severity can be misleading. Sometimes they lead to impairment, disability, or even death. Many times head injuries aren’t taken seriously enough when they need to be.
Almost half of head injuries are caused by car accidents, and more than 70% of severe car accidents include head injuries. These injuries can be caused by direct impact to the head, but can also be caused by shaking or sudden deceleration, which causes a collision with the skull. With injuries that are caused without direct impact, the injuries will not be visible and can be harder to tell if there is a legitimate problem.
Knowing the types and signs are a few good starting tools that can prepare you for situations where you or somebody you know might receive a head injury during a car accident.
Types of head injuries
There are two different types of head injuries. Traumatic and acquired brain injuries. Each one has their own types of injuries within themselves also. However, in relation to car accidents, traumatic head injuries will be explained in this article, as acquired brain injuries happen more commonly in other situations such as with drowning or cardiac arrest.
Concussions, the most common type of head injury, occur when the brain is somehow made to bounce against the skull, causing a dysfunction. In this case, car accidents can cause concussions by forceful impact on other places of the body. Having multiple concussions accumulating over time can have a compounding effect that causes more serious problems down the line. A contusion is more of a typical bruising to the head, and can be seen as blood vessels pop under the surface of the skin.
In contrast, diffuse axonal injuries to the head include trauma that is spread out rather than concentrated in one place. This is not caused by a direct hit to the head from the outside, but instead by acceleration and deceleration of the brain inside the skull. Basically, the brain being knocked around too much, which can cause issues with axons not working correctly, brain lesions which can onset a vegetative state, and even swelling in the brain. Diffuse axonal injury can result in unconsciousness anywhere from a few hours to a coma.
Another form of traumatic head injuries include penetrating injuries. These are simply injuries that are caused by an external item penetrating the skull and not exiting through a wound. These can easily be caused by fast moving objects coming towards the head in a car accident.
Signs and symptoms of head injuries
After a car accident, it is important to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of a head injury. For a minor head injury these can include a small amount of time unconscious, followed by confusion, trouble balancing, dizziness, fuzzy or double vision, and trouble with memory, and which can also be paired with feeling foggy headed, tired or sluggish, trouble sleeping or concentrating.
However, on a more serious level with severe head injuries, there can be indications such as immediate unconsciousness for a prolonged period of time, changes in the size of pupils, clear or heavy liquid coming out of the nose, mouth, or ears, convulsions of the body, distorted face, come by blood pressure, bruising on the face, crack of the skull, hindered hearing, scent taste, or vision, failure to relocate arm or legs, depression, loss of consciousness, low breathing price, lack of control, restlessness, intense problem, mispronounced speech, blurred vision, tight neck, puking, or swelling at site of the injury.
Any of these symptoms should be immediately addressed after a car accident by a medical professional, and in cases where another party caused the injury, an attorney should be contacted for consultation.
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