Headaches are among the most common medical symptoms following car accidents. If you’ve been in an auto accident, you may have a headache even if you did not hit your head.
During a crash, a vehicle — with you inside — quickly decelerates from a high rate of speed to zero. That force alone, even without a direct impact, can cause a headache and more serious problems.
If you have a headache after an accident, it’s important to seek medical care right away. In addition, consider consulting with an attorney with experience in car accident injuries.
Whiplash can happen in a car accident as the result of suddenly stopping. The violent motion can cause the neck to flex and extend in unnatural ways. If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in a vehicle accident, you may have sprained or strained your neck muscles or ligaments.
In addition, whiplash can negatively impact the seven vertebrae in your neck, your nerves, or the discs that cushion the vertebrae. You may be in pain immediately after the accident, or you may not feel pain until later.
It’s vital to see a doctor if you experience any symptoms, including stiffness in your neck, dizziness, pain into your back and shoulders, unusual fatigue, numbness or tingling, limited ability to move your neck, or any memory loss.
A doctor may diagnose you with a whiplash headache if you’ve suffered whiplash in an accident and you develop a headache within a week. As part of the exam to diagnose you, the doctor will ask questions and may order imaging tests to get a better look at your neck injury.
In some cases, a whiplash headache may get better on its own. If you were in an accident and have not seen a doctor, you should seek medical attention if your symptoms get any worse or if you’re still experiencing pain after two weeks. If you have any numbness in your arms or legs, or if symptoms are keeping you from functioning as normal, you also should see a doctor.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A headache or migraine following a car accident also can be a sign of traumatic brain injury. A blow to the head — including one sustained in a car accident — can cause a head injury that results in brain damage.
Someone who sustains a TBI may not have a fracture or any penetration of the skull, but the significant force damages internal cells and tissues in the brain. As a result, an individual can sustain short- or long-term damage to physical and emotional abilities.
Potential Headache Onset
Following an auto accident, head pain can start immediately, or it can be delayed for hours or days. In either case, you should seek immediate medical attention and share all details of your symptoms with your doctor.
The sooner you see a medical provider, the greater the chance that you can get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. By starting the right treatment as soon as possible, you lower the risk of long-term, negative effects resulting from whiplash or traumatic brain injury.
In addition, seeking medical treatment soon after an accident may help support your case, should you file a claim for compensation for your injuries. By being seen by a medical provider, you establish evidence that your injuries are related to your accident.
Steps to Take After an Accident
After you’ve sought medical assistance, you should keep a written record of your headaches. Record as much information as possible, including the time, date, severity, duration and any treatment you receive.
In addition, retain all medical paperwork, including any bills for doctor visits, tests and prescriptions.
Keeping thorough records can help document your pain and suffering, along with financial costs you incur.
Should you decide to file a lawsuit to seek damages, any documentation you can provide will be helpful to your personal injury attorney and will increase your chances of recovering compensation.
Get Assistance From an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
The attorneys at The Slocum Firm can help you file a claim for damages if you have ongoing headaches or other injuries from an auto accident in Pennsylvania. Your claim may include elements such as the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident, lost income, the costs of your medical care, and your loss of enjoyment of life. To schedule a consultation, please contact The Slocum Firm