Car accidents can cause serious injuries, like broken bones, cuts and lacerations, and internal bleeding, all of which require immediate medical attention. However, car accidents can also cause injuries that may not be as obvious, particularly when the adrenaline is coursing through the body. For example, headaches may show up in the days following the accident and can indicate an underlying injury.
Migraine headaches are particularly debilitating and can have a major impact on your quality of life. If you start to get headaches after you were involved in a car accident, it is very likely that it is related to the collision. In order for your headache to be properly diagnosed and treated, you are urged to take the following steps as soon as possible:
- Seek immediate medical attention. It is highly recommended that you are examined by a skilled medical professional after any type of accident. A physician will be able to determine whether the headache is caused by the car accident and offer their expert medical opinion.
- Take your symptoms seriously. Too often, people ignore a headache or try to tough it out because they do not consider it to be a serious problem. If you are experiencing a lingering, severe headache, take the symptoms seriously and consult a specialist. Even if the symptoms respond to over-the-counter medications, do not ignore the headache or assume it will get better on its own.
- Follow the recommended treatment plan. An experienced health care provider will recommend the best treatment based on the nature and severity of your headache, so it is important that you follow the plan, even if you start to feel better. If you do not follow your doctor’s recommendations, this can have a negative impact on your personal injury
- Notify your insurance company. When you contact your insurance company about the accident, mention your symptoms. Be prepared to provide the insurance company with documentation that can help prove that the headache is related to the accident.
- Do not sign any documents related to the accident. Never sign any settlements, waivers, or releases related to the accident until you have discussed the case with an experienced lawyer.
- Contact a skilled car accident lawyer. Having a dedicated lawyer on your side will ensure that your legal rights are protected.
What Are the Common Causes of Car Accident-Related Headaches?
A sudden jolt that causes your head to jerk back and forth or hit the steering wheel can cause a headache or head injury. Most headaches resolve within six months, however, between 10 and 20 percent do not. In addition to the pain associated with a headache, it can cause sleep disturbances, vision problems, and other symptoms.
The following are some of the main causes of headaches that appear after car accidents:
- Whiplash: The sudden and extreme back-and-forth motion of the head and neck can cause significant muscle strain that affects the soft tissues as well as the head. A headache caused by whiplash may not appear until days or weeks following the accident, or it may start out as a mild headache and become worse over the course of several days or weeks. This type of headache usually starts at the base of the skull and may cause a stiff neck. You may also suffer from memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and sleep issues.
- Fractures: When the sudden force of impact causes a fracture in the skull or neck, this can cause severe headaches. Even if the fracture does not cause a brain injury, the resulting headaches can be chronic and persistent. Other common symptoms include slurred speech, confusion, nausea, and seizures.
- Pinched nerves: This occurs when the nerves around the spine are compressed from the force of the impact. The occipital nerve around the base of the skull is most commonly affected. Symptoms of a pinched nerve include pain, tingling, numbness, and burning up the back of the head.
- Concussions: This type of injury occurs when the force of impact causes your brain to hit the inner wall of the skull, causing it to bleed or become bruised. Concussions often cause headaches, as well as memory loss, light sensitivity, nausea, ear ringing, and confusion. If the headache lasts longer than the expected recovery period, you may have post-concussion syndrome.
- Migraines: Insurance companies may try to deny your claim that your migraine is directly caused by the car accident. They may try to argue that if the headache is a migraine, it is a genetic disorder or that it is caused by a number of other factors. In order to be eligible for financial compensation, it is important that you can identify the type of headache from which you are suffering.
What Are Common Symptoms of a Car Accident-Related Headache?
Minor headaches are often caused by tension, dehydration, hunger, or staring at a computer screen for too long. Oftentimes, over-the-counter medications provide relief, and the headache usually subsides after an hour or so.
When a car accident causes a headache, you may experience varying degrees of pain and discomfort for days or more. The following are common symptoms associated with a headache that is caused by a car accident:
- Pressure across the forehead.
- Dull, aching sensation in the head.
- Pressure on the sides or back of the head.
- Tenderness in the neck, shoulders, and scalp.
Can I Obtain Financial Compensation for a Car Accident-Related Headache?
Depending on the severity of your headache and injury and the impact it has on your daily life, you may be eligible for financial compensation. It is very important that you take the following steps after a car accident:
- Collect as much evidence related to the accident as possible, including pictures of the accident scene, witness statements, and a detailed written account of what you remember about the events leading up to the accident.
- Keep a detailed record of your financial losses related to the injury, including medical bills, lost wages, and costs of future treatments.
- Maintain a detailed account of how the injury has impacted your quality of life. For example, if you get chronic migraines because of a head injury that cause you to miss a significant amount of work or that prevents you from enjoying time with friends, keep detailed notes.
- Avoid discussing the details of the accident or your headache symptoms on social media. Insurance companies can see this and twist your words around.
It is also important to understand that headaches, including migraines, are considered hidden injuries. There are a number of factors that will determine the total value of your case, including the following:
- Your age and overall health prior to the accident.
- The severity of other injuries you suffered in the car accident.
- Your medical expenses and expected future medical costs associated with the injury.
- Loss of income, as well as loss of future earning capacity.
- Whether or not you contributed to the accident in any way.
- Proof that your head injury has had a negative impact on your quality of life.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Advocate for Those Who Have Head Injuries From Accidents
If you have a head injury and are suffering from headaches after a collision, one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can review your case. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we fight tirelessly to protect the rights of our clients. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 757-352-2237 or contact us online. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.