Stillman and Friedland see a lot of clients who want to settle as soon as possible and get the accident behind them. This is a good thing — it is healthy to want to get on with life and put the trauma behind you. Yet, while some injuries are severe and obviously will take time to heal, other injuries take time to become apparent. One classic example of this is head trauma that results in concussion. While we often tend to think of concussion as causing a blackout or loss of consciousness, this is not always the case.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may not be apparent until weeks after the accident.
A major point we always make to our clients is that it is better to be safe than sorry. Initial assessment is crucial for early evaluation of your condition following an accident. If you have been involved in a collision, especially a high-impact crash, always get checked by a medical professional as soon after the accident as possible.
We have all heard of people walking away from a bad accident “without a scratch”. Please note that TBI often happens without visible external injury. Even though the seat belt and airbag kept you from going through the windshield, if you experienced and absorbed a major impact, you may have a TBI.
Even if you initially seem uninjured, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
• Persistent headaches or neck pain that do not go away;
• Memory loss, difficulty in focusing on tasks, hesitancy;
• Mental slowness and confusion;
• Persistent fatigue;
• Moodiness, anger and depression;
• Unusual sleep patterns, either insomnia or oversleeping;
• Dizziness or loss of coordination;
• Recurrent nausea;
• Heightened sensitivity to light, noise, or other distractions;
• Vision changes such as blurry vision or poor focusing;
• Sensory changes, losing taste or smell
• Tinnitus, a persistent ringing or buzzing noise—may worsen with depression
Please note that these symptoms may be harder to pinpoint in children. If your kids were passengers in an accident and you notice your children have changes in their usual routine—behavior, school, eating and sleeping—have them evaluated by a competent medical professional. TBI is a concern in growing children and may affect their development.
It is important for your physical recovery to be evaluated initially and as time passes to be sure you are not suffering a TBI. It is easy to blame these symptoms on the emotional trauma of the accident, when in fact there may be an underlying physical cause that requires medical treatment. Some results of TBI, such as hematoma, can be life-threatening or can cause a debilitating loss of quality of life. If you notice that you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, seeking treatment is important for your well-being and will impact the amount of your financial recovery.
As personal injury attorneys, we hear from clients whose doctors fail to listen to them. As professionals, we understand that it is our job to listen and respond to your legal issues. The same should be true for medical professionals regarding your health issues. If you have a concern and you feel your PCP is not dealing with it, we suggest finding another doctor with whom you have a better rapport, and who will work to resolve your concerns or refer you to someone who can.
Because we care…
Stillman & Friedland Attorneys