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How Long After a Head Injury Can Symptoms Occur?

If you’ve recently been in a car accident or other accident, it might be difficult to know if you have a head injury – or even a traumatic brain injury. In any case, if you have suffered a head injury, see a doctor. But how long should watch out for brain injury symptoms to confirm your injury, and how long can it take for these symptoms to occur?

Generally, head and brain injury symptoms will occur within the first few hours of the injury. However, it can take until the next day or so after an injury to notice some effects of your injury. As soon as you suffer the potential injury, see a doctor – don’t wait for worsened symptoms.

For help with your case after getting treatment, call the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000.

When Do Head Injury Symptoms Appear After an Accident?

Sometimes injury symptoms can be hard to identify and notice after an accident. In the immediate aftermath of something like a car crash or a serious slip and fall injury, you could be in “fight or flight mode” because of the adrenaline running through your system. One of the main effects of adrenaline is that it prevents you from feeling potentially serious injuries, covering symptoms. Moreover, some head injuries simply are not obvious and might be hard to identify after an accident. This creates a perfect storm that can sometimes mean hours or days in delay when it comes to treating a head injury – potentially leading to worse outcomes.

After suffering a head injury, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Bumps or bruises on your head
  • Pain and soreness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble balancing
  • Confusion
  • Speech issues
  • Dilated or mismatched pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Trouble waking
  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty forming thoughts
  • Seizures
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Changes in sleep or eating habits
  • Fluid or blood leaking from the nose or ears

Often, symptoms like pain and confusion will occur soon after an accident. Moreover, symptoms like dizziness, confusion, vomiting, and pupil dilation might be noticeable even if adrenaline is masking pain symptoms. However, if your symptoms are hidden or masked, it is best to be active on the lookout for symptoms, so you do not miss anything.

When Should I Seek Treatment for a Head Injury After an Accident?

If you even suspect that you suffered a head injury in an accident, you should seek medical treatment. Delaying care for a potential head injury can lead to the injury becoming much worse, and potentially even becoming fatal. There have been many recorded cases – some famous – of head injury victims going to bed or ignoring symptoms only to pass away from an untreated brain injury.

Our brain injury lawyers recommend erring on the side of caution in all cases. If you hit your head in an accident, it is possible you could have suffered a mild concussion or even a serious traumatic brain injury. Not only is a delay in treatment potentially dangerous to your health, but it can also be detrimental to your potential injury case. For this reason, you should seek treatment or screening immediately.

If you were involved in a car accident or another accident, you should typically report the accident to the authorities and call 911. When you do so, an ambulance can be brought to the scene, and the EMTs can help screen you for potential injury and recommend additional treatment if they suspect a head injury. After evaluating you, an EMT might suggest going to the hospital for CT scans and other tests to detect internal injuries or bleeding. They might also suggest simply going to the hospital for observation or performing your own observation and seeking additional care if any symptoms emerge.

What Happens if I Delay Treatment for a Head Injury

As mentioned, our brain injury attorneys recommend never delaying treatment for a head injury. If you do delay treatment and the injury gets worse, you could potentially die from the injury. Since head injuries are difficult to see with the naked eye, it can be difficult to tell if your injury is serious, if you have a brain bleed, or if you potentially even need emergency surgery to treat the injury. Therefore, you should not delay treatment.

Moreover, people with head injuries could face confusion and cognitive issues as part of the symptoms of the injury. This makes it harder to make a coherent judgment call about how bad your injury is. Always defer to medical experts and have them evaluate you rather than guessing at your condition yourself, especially if your ability to think clearly has been compromised by a potential head injury.

If you delay treatment, you could also create legal issues for yourself. After an injury, it is the duty of a victim and their injury attorneys to attempt to mitigate damages. This requires you to do what you reasonably can to stop the injuries and damages from getting worse – which typically means seeking medical care as soon as you can. Gaps and delays in medical care can actually make you responsible for any worsened conditions or declines in health that that delay brought about.

Additionally, if you delay your treatment, it creates two more distinct legal issues. First, it will be harder for our brain injury lawyers to argue that your injury was indeed severe if you were able to wait 12 or 24 or 48 hours after the injury without needing any treatment. Second, it will be harder to link the injury to the accident in question and prove that your head and brain injuries indeed occurred in that accident and not some other accident that happened later.

Call Our Brain Injury Attorneys Today

If you were hurt in an accident and hit your head, call 911 and get medical treatment right away. After that, consider calling our Columbia personal injury lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers for a free case review. Our number is (803) 451-4000.