person driving car

Many car accident injuries tend to be obvious: broken bones, bruises, lacerations and more. While these injuries need immediate medical attention, they are not an exhaustive list of the potential physical damages a person may experience in a vehicle collision.

Some injuries have a hidden, delayed set of symptoms that may go untreated in the initial aftermath of an accident. Traumatic brain injuries can have devastating consequences but may not seem symptomatic until hours or days after an accident. For anyone involved in a collision, it’s important to watch for the signs of a TBI even after a medical workup in case the effects of the injury are slow to develop.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injuries are a broad categorization of head injuries ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage. TBIs develop as the result of a blow, bump or jolt to the head and damage a person’s normal brain functions. Car accidents are the third leading cause of TBI injuries and deaths in the U.S.

Signs and symptoms of a TBI may present immediately after an accident and last for a few days or for the rest of a person’s life, all depending on the severity and specific type of injury. General discomfort and disorientation is common after a car accident even without a major injury, but it’s the longevity and severity of the symptoms that may indicate an underlying, unresolved injury.

What are the indicators of a TBI?

Mild TBIs, generally categorized as concussions, can have physical, sensory and cognitive signs and symptoms. These may include brief loss of consciousness, sensitivity to light and sounds, memory deficits, fatigue, mood swings and affected sleep patterns, among others.

Moderate to severe TBIs can include worsened levels of those symptoms in addition to many other indicators. If a person is suffering from a moderate to severe TBI they may experience loss of consciousness for minutes or hours, convulsions, slurred speech, loss of coordination or potentially fall into a coma.

It may take days for the more severe symptoms to develop as the brain injury continues to take its toll. For those involved in a car accident, continue to monitor any symptoms and immediately seek additional medical care if they persist or worsen. Loved ones should remain aware and continue checking on anyone involved in a car accident as their symptoms could go unnoticed for too long.

Traumatic brain injuries can have life-altering and devastating results, particularly if gone unnoticed and untreated. Continue to monitor the health of someone involved in a car accident to watch for potentially damaging injuries developing over time. Attention and care can help catch an injury and seek the necessary medical treatment.