Most people injured in car accidents can expect doctors to diagnose and treat them shortly after the accident. However, some injuries may manifest days, weeks or even months after the accident. These hidden injuries are dangerous because they can go by undetected and untreated.
Head and brain injuries are especially serious, and they can sometimes show no symptoms for a while, which is rightfully concerning for people involved in car accidents because they’re left wondering if they are injured and do not know it.
There are different types of brain injuries; some are more serious than others. Sometimes the brain can heal itself from a brain injury, and other times, it cannot heal itself on its own and either needs medical assistance and treatment or, in a subset of cases, it is a permanent and untreatable injury.
If you have been in a car accident, the first thing you should do is to advocate for yourself. Ensure that you receive proper medical assistance, including examinations and tests immediately after the accident.
Still, even if your doctor does not find anything wrong with your brain right away, it is vital to monitor for symptoms for at least the next few months because sometimes it takes that long for injuries to begin showing signs, and some of those are:
- Mood changes, depression, anxiety and other mental conditions
- Extreme tiredness, sleepiness, inability to get up in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing, problems completing your work
- Changes in smells of things around you or the taste of food
- Insomnia, difficulty falling or staying asleep, problems sleeping normally
- Sensitivity to light and sounds
In extreme cases, though less common, symptoms of severe and potentially fatal issues can develop over time, including:
- Changes in the ability to think or speak normally
- Changes in your personality and personality disorders
- Body parts or muscles that begin to atrophy or seem paralyzed
- Seizures or unconscious bodily movements that you cannot control
While rare, it is critical to remain alert and communicate any symptoms, whether listed above or any other, to your medical professional for further examination. In most cases, doctors can identify, diagnose and treat the condition when the symptoms develop.
Car accidents are serious and it is vital to seek treatment as soon as possible after the accident and to remain alert for signs of hidden injuries after the accident.