After a car accident, there are many reasons you might have a headache, many of which are fairly benign. However, if you have a constant headache after your car accident, not only can it be painful and debilitating—it can be a symptom of a much more serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion.
After your car accident, it’s crucial to receive medical attention and get your conditions documented as early as possible. A post-traumatic headache can cause debilitating pain and indicate more serious, long-lasting injuries.
What Is a Post-Traumatic Headache?
Headaches can be caused by the trauma of a vehicle collision; in these instances, they’re known as post-traumatic headaches. Victims can sometimes begin suffering painful and debilitating symptoms immediately after the car wreck, but some don’t feel any pain until hours or even days after the crash.
Any crash can cause a post-traumatic headache, and any headache you experience after a collision might’ve been caused by it, especially in the first week or so. If you’re experiencing a continuous headache after a car accident, get examined as soon as possible.
What Causes Post-Traumatic Headaches?
A headache can be caused during an accident through trauma to the head or neck. This trauma can be caused by a direct blow, or by the forces of collision violently shaking the victim’s head. Other causes of post-traumatic headaches include
- Trauma from the victim’s head hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, window, or another solid object
- Pinching of nerves at the base of the skull and in the spine from rotating and shearing forces during the crash
- Muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries in the upper back and neck
- Skull fracture or spine fracture
- Herniated discs and other spinal injuries
Rear-end collisions are a common cause of post-traumatic headaches because of the way they can force occupants’ heads to whip violently back and forth, otherwise known as a whiplash injury. Headaches can also be symptoms of a traumatic brain injury or concussion and can be disabling and extremely painful on their own.
Common Symptoms of post Traumatic Headaches
Remember—you could begin suffering from a headache immediately after the car accident, or it could be hours or even days before you feel any pain. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms and see a doctor if you experience them:
- Dull, aching head pain
- A sensation of pressure or tightness, either across the forehead or around the head’s sides or back
- Tenderness in your scalp, neck, or shoulder muscles
- Loss of appetite can occasionally be a symptom as well
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Headache After a Car Accident
Whenever it starts, a headache after a car accident must not be ignored. Not only can it be painful and debilitating on its own, but it can also be a symptom of a much more serious condition such as traumatic brain injury, concussion, or closed-head injury that has yet to be diagnosed.
Even if you think it may go away, see a doctor about your car-crash-induced headache, as soon as possible to receive proper treatment and begin your recovery. Early documentation and treatment can also help lessen the risk of long-term disability.
Finally, medical records can serve as evidence that your injuries were caused by trauma from the wreck. In turn, this can protect your rights as an accident victim to have your medical care and other treatment paid for by insurance or the person responsible for your injuries.
What to Do If You Have a Persistent Headache After a Car Accident
To ensure you get the proper medical care for your injury, as well as the financial compensation you’re legally entitled to after your accident, follow these steps if you’re suffering a post-traumatic headache:
Get Examined by Your Doctor Immediately.
The sooner you see your doctor, the more likely it is that they can properly diagnose and document your injury. In addition, you’ll be able to begin treatment sooner, bettering your chance for a full recovery in a shorter amount of time.
Seeing your doctor as soon as possible after your accident has other benefits too. For example, your doctor will be able to detect or rule out other serious injuries, like whiplash or traumatic brain injury. Early documentation of a post-traumatic headache can also be of help in case the insurance company tries to refuse to pay for care.
Don’t Try to “Tough It Out”
Now is not the time to soldier on. Pain is the body’s way of telling you there’s something wrong. The longer you wait to treat a post-traumatic injury, the more likely it is that you’ll suffer permanent damage or debilitating pain.
Talk to an Attorney
You need a lawyer with experience in car accident injuries, and specifically, post-traumatic headaches. The personal injury lawyers with Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys have over 679+ years of combined legal experience helping Louisianans get the help they need after car accidents, and we can help you too.
We’ll evaluate your claim to see what it could be worth, and we’ll ensure you receive the necessary medical care to make the best recovery possible. We’ll also walk you through the steps of notifying your insurance company, and negotiate on your behalf to secure the compensation you deserve.
Notify Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, notify your insurance company of your accident and any injuries you’re aware of. Be sure to include your headaches and any other pains in your benefits application or written notice of injury.
Do Not Sign Any Settlements, Releases, or Waivers
Until you’ve talked to an experienced attorney, do not sign any paperwork presented to you by your auto insurance company or any other. Insurance companies are in the business of settling your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible, so they’ll try to cut you a check that fails to account for the full cost of your injuries.
An experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer will advocate on your behalf to ensure you get the compensation you need to fully heal from your injuries and begin moving on with your life. Always talk to your lawyer before signing any paperwork. If you begin suffering from a headache after a car accident, it could be a sign of a deeper issue. Call Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation about your legal rights at 888.501.7888. A dedicated lawyer will listen to your description of your injuries and provide advice on how to proceed.