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Why people may overlook brain injuries after a car crash

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2023 | Brain Injuries

People often realize right away when they have sustained certain severe injuries following a car wreck. Someone with a broken bone may not be able to lift themselves or walk, so they know that they require medical treatment. Someone with a spinal cord injury may not be able to feel their legs at all. Those with obvious injuries can notify first responders when they report a crash to local authorities so that they can receive prompt medical care. They should have a straightforward claim for insurance coverage after receiving diagnostic assistance and treatment.

However, sometimes people don’t notice the warning signs of major injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are easy for people to overlook at the scene of a crash. Why might someone potentially fail to notice indicators of a brain injury after a collision?

How the body responds to major trauma

One of the reasons that people don’t realize they have injuries after a crash is because of how the body responds to a traumatic incident. The chemicals that the body produces after a car crash can cover pain symptoms and even make someone feel very alert and energetic. It may only be long after the crash occurs that someone starts to notice the persistent headache or sense of drowsiness triggered by a brain injury. The basic symptoms are easy for people to overlook after a collision.

How slowly some symptoms develop

Another reason that people don’t recognize that they have a traumatic brain injury is that they may not have obvious symptoms right away. Brain injury symptoms may start small, possibly with a headache, and may slowly progress as the bleeding or swelling worsens.

People may notice new or more severe symptoms several days or even weeks after the initial injury. Those worsening symptoms can become increasingly inconvenient for the person with the TBI. The only way to prevent symptoms from getting worse is to seek medical evaluation and treatment as soon as possible after a crash.

Particularly violent crashes and situations where people lose consciousness may mean that individuals are at elevated risk of a TBI. Understanding that some injuries are hard to notice at first may inspire crash victims to seek medical attention and help people to better protect themselves from permanent medical consequences after a car wreck.