Concussion from Automobile Accidents
Contrary to popular belief, concussion does not require a direct blow to the head. People frequently sustain concussion in automobile accidents without any impact between their head and any part of the automobile in which they are traveling. Often they do not realize that they are suffering from concussion, even though they may exhibit clear symptoms, such as recurrent headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, irritability and depression. For this reason, they do not report these symptoms to their doctors, because they are unaware that they were caused by the accident and may require medical treatment.
This scenario is a common result of rear-end collisions at low speeds. Usually, there is only minimal damage to the vehicle. In fact, medical studies have shown that people are injured more when they are rearended at low speed, than at high speed. This is because modern vehicles are specifically designed to withstand such collisions. Federal law requires bumpers on passenger cars to be able to withstand an impact of 5 mph, but most bumpers can survive impacts of 10 or even 15 mph without suffering much damage. In such cases, the vehicle barely moves, but the passenger is suddenly and unexpectedly bounced backwards and forwards, the neck hyperextends, the head jolts around and the brain is subjected to rapid acceleration. It all happens so quickly – literally in the blink of an eye. However, it only takes a minor trauma to cause a concussion and left untreated concussion can develop into a more serious condition known as post-concussion syndrome.
In recent years, the military has begun to realize that large numbers of troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq have sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) simply from being in close proximity to an explosion, without suffering a direct blow to the skull. In the past, troops exhibiting such symptoms were labeled as malingerers and disregarded, but now the injuries can be confirmed by sophisticated brain scanning and imaging technology. The subject of concussion among football players has also received considerable attention and repeated concussion has been shown to lead to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).
So don’t ignore your symptoms. You are not imagining them and you are not malingering. Speak to you doctor and let your doctor decide. And just as important – tell your attorney.