The brain fog you feel after an accident might not just represent the emotional shock of getting injured. You might have a concussion — a mild brain injury that can have physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms.
These symptoms might prevent you from working, at least temporarily. You might require several days or weeks of rest to recover from your injuries. In the worst case, you might develop chronic symptoms that affect you for months or even years.
How Does Your Body Protect Your Brain?
Your brain controls your nervous system. In this role, it keeps your involuntary systems running. Without your brain sending autonomic signals, your heart, lungs, stomach, and other organs would stop functioning.
Your brain also controls your voluntary movements. Your brain sends signals to your muscles to contract or relax so you can walk, stand, or run. It also controls the fine muscle movements that give your fingers their dexterity and allow you to make facial expressions.
To control your body, your brain collects information from your sense organs. Your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin tell you about your surroundings. Your brain uses this information to decide how to control your body. If it receives buzzing signals from your ears when a fly hovers, it controls your hand to swat it.
Because it plays such a central role, your brain has several layers of protection. The skull provides a hard shell to protect the brain from impact. Membranes, called the meninges, surround the brain and spinal cord. The meninges block microorganisms from infecting the brain.
A layer of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sits inside the meninges. The brain floats in the CSF, and the fluid resistance slows the motion of the brain. In effect, this fluid cushions the brain from hitting the inside of the skull.
What Can Cause a Concussion Injury?
A concussion happens when the brain inflames in response to trauma. A concussion injury usually happens in three ways:
When you hit your head, your brain slides toward the impact site. In a concussion, your brain does not strike the inside of your skull, but the CSF must exert pressure on the brain to stop it.
Head trauma can happen anytime you fall in an accident. A slip and fall accident can cause a concussion when your head strikes the ground.
You do not need to hit your head to get a concussion. Since a concussion happens when your brain sloshes in your skull, you only need to experience violent motion to suffer this type of brain injury.
When your brain sloshes in your skull, the CSF develops pressure waves that squeeze the brain. These pressure waves prevent the brain from slamming into the skull, but they can also damage or even destroy brain cells.
The whipping motion that causes a concussion can result from a car accident. When you collide with another vehicle or a fixed object, your body tries to keep moving at the same speed and direction as before the crash.
You whip forward until you hit your seat belt and come to an abrupt stop. You then whip backward into your seat. This back-and-forth whipping shakes your brain violently enough to cause a concussion.
An explosion creates a blast wave. This wave of pressurized air can squeeze your brain when it passes you.
Blast-related concussions often happen to combat soldiers. But they can also happen in industries that use explosives or see accidental explosions in the workplace, such as mining, oil and gas extraction, and demolition.
What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion Injury?
A concussion happens when the brain suffers inflammation after getting squeezed by the CSF. As a result, concussion symptoms could develop hours or even days after the initial injury.
Some common symptoms of a concussion include:
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Loss of balance
The symptoms you experience will vary depending on the severity of the concussion and the brain regions injured. With a severe concussion, you will often lose consciousness, have difficulty moving, and lose the ability to speak. With a mild concussion, you might experience nothing more than a headache.
What Complications Can Result from a Concussion Injury?
Concussion symptoms usually clear up in two months. If your symptoms last longer than two months, your doctor may diagnose you with post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
PCS includes persistent concussion symptoms. You may even develop long-term emotional or cognitive symptoms like:
- Brain fog
- Personality changes
- Difficulty concentrating
Some of the symptoms of PCS overlap with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This supports the theory that PCS and PTSD often happen together. Studies show that these two complications from a concussion tend to reinforce each other and make each other worse.
How Can You Get Compensation for a Concussion Injury?
You can suffer severe losses from a concussion. The impact of the concussion on your physical and cognitive abilities can prevent you from working. You might need to change your work tasks temporarily while you recover from your injuries.
And this rehabilitation could also become costly. You might need medical treatment, physical and mental health therapy, or medication to control your symptoms.
To get compensation for your concussion injury, you have a few options. If your injury happened in the course and scope of your job duties, you can seek workers’ compensation. Your employer takes out this insurance for the benefit of injured employees. The benefits pay your medical costs and part of your lost earnings.
If you did not sustain your injuries on the job and someone else’s actions caused your accident, you’ll need to prove negligence. Negligence means that someone failed to exercise reasonable care. For example, if a driver violated a traffic law and crashed into your vehicle, the other driver was likely negligent.
A concussion can affect your thinking and alter your emotions. It can amplify PTSD symptoms, leading to long-term disabilities. Contact or call Minner Vines Moncus Injury Lawyers to discuss the compensation you can seek for a concussion caused by someone else’s negligence at (859) 550-2900.