We all remember getting a bump on the head, going to the doctor, and our parents being told we had a concussion. Just a minor concussion, the doctor said, keep an eye on them and don’t let them fall asleep. We’d be up and about the next day, seemingly none the worse for the wear.

We know today that concussions are serious. They are not minor injuries, and even mild concussions, if you suffer too many of them or over too short a period, can cause permanent damage. And despite what our parents were told, even young children can have lasting injuries from concussions.

If you suffered a concussion in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, even if you did not lose consciousness or have any outward sign of injury, you might still have a claim for the traumatic brain injury you suffered. Contact the St. Louis car accident attorneys of OnderLaw and let us review the facts of your case. We can give you an evaluation and let you know the best way to proceed.

Not “Just a Concussion”

The CDC categorizes a concussion as a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is the result of an impact to the skull and the force of the impact that is transmitted to the brain. The brain takes up a large portion of the volume of the skull. The rest is filled with blood vessels and protective layers called “dura.” During a car accident, as your head moves back and forth, the brain moves back and forth inside the skull, like water in a bathtub. When it bounces off the hard interior of the skull, it can be bruised and injured.

Doctors rank concussions according to the types of symptoms and how long the symptoms last.

  • Grade 1 concussions follow a minor blow to the head or an accident with no impact. The patient may feel dizzy, feel confused, dazed, or complain of a headache or nausea. The patient does not lose consciousness. These symptoms may last for 15 minutes or less.
  • Grade 2 concussions follow a more severe blow to the head. The person may be confused, have slurred speech, complain of a ringing in their ears, have nausea or vomiting, and have difficulty standing or walking. The patient does not lose consciousness, but the symptoms last for more than 15 minutes.
  • Grade 3 concussions involve a loss of consciousness. Even if no other symptoms appear, any head injury where the patient lost consciousness, even for a second or two, is treated as a serious concussion. Other symptoms may be delayed and include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, loss of memory, sluggish response to questions, and altered levels of consciousness.

It’s important to remember that even mild concussions involve damage to the brain. It may take some time for symptoms to develop. You may feel fine after a “minor” traffic accident, go home, and then suddenly feel dizzy, nauseated, or confused. If you have been in an accident and develop concussion symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately. Anyone who has suffered a head injury and begins vomiting should not delay treatment. This is a sign of a serious injury.

Cumulative concussions are dangerous. That is, several mild concussions are as serious as a single severe concussion. The brain does not have time to heal itself between concussions if they occur in close proximity to each other. One of the most severe results of cumulative concussion is “second-impact syndrome,” a potentially deadly condition in which the brain swells quickly after a second concussion.

Any head injury should be assessed for concussion if the patient has a history of:

  • Prior falls, especially if the person is elderly.
  • Military service, especially if they were in combat.
  • Contact sports, particularly football, soccer, or hockey.
  • A prior accident with head trauma.

Because of this cumulative effect, you should contact an attorney whenever you are involved in an accident that results in head trauma. Multiple head injuries can affect your life years or even decades down the road.

Post-Concussion Syndrome: A New Disability

Both NFL players and returning veterans have experienced a new spin on an old problem. The result of multiple concussions has created a new type of brain disorder: post-concussion syndrome or PCS. This debilitating condition resembles a chronic concussion and includes emotional changes, anxiety, depression, migraines, and other unpleasant symptoms.

If you believe you have such a condition or have been recently diagnosed, contact OnderLaw right away for an assessment of your case.

After a Car Accident

If you have been in a car accident, especially if you hit your head or lost consciousness, you should see a doctor right away. Concussions don’t show up on X-Rays or CT scans, but doctors can assess your condition and provide treatment. When the doctor asks you repeatedly whether you know your age or the name of the President, it is a way of assessing your mental condition.

If you’ve ever had a concussion before, you should let the doctor know. This helps the doctor determine whether they need to do any further assessment. It also helps provide documentation to support any tests that may need to be done. Although doctors and medical professionals realize the severity of concussions, insurance companies are still unwilling to pay for anything they can reasonably deny.

When to Call Us for Car Accident Concussions in St. Louis

Residents of St. Louis are extremely fortunate. Missouri has one of the longest statutes of limitation for personal injury claims in the country. In Missouri, you have five years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. That does not mean you should wait to contact an attorney. Five years can go by very quickly when you’re dealing with insurance companies and bill collectors. You should call an attorney as soon as you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault.

OnderLaw will review your St. Louis personal injury case and advise you about your best options for pursuing compensation. We can take on the responsibility of dealing with the insurance company on your behalf, and we’ll let you know when it’s time to file a lawsuit. We will be there from the beginning till the trial or settlement. Call us for a free and confidential consultation today.