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Concussion After A Car Accident What You Need To Know

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Walking away from a car accident seemingly unscathed is a dream come true for many people. However, hidden injuries may still be wreaking havoc on your mind and body without your knowledge unless you have a proper medical evaluation. Despite not having any immediate pain, some symptoms and effects of untreated injuries may be delayed and won’t show up until hours, days, or sometimes weeks after the accident.

By that time, your car accident concussion may have compounded, causing additional problems and a longer heal time. All traumatic brain injuries are examples of damages that only worsen without quick diagnosis and proper treatment. Concussions are one of the most common traumatic brain injuries suffered in car accidents. If left untreated, many car accident injuroes, can become life-threatening injuries. To properly assess your injuries after a collision, immediately seek medical treatment. Visiting emergency room and and finding the right doctor who will present you various treatment options and provide proper medical help is a critical part of your recovery. 

What Is a Concussion?


A concussion is a traumatic brain injury from a blunt force injury to the head or violently shaking the neck and head. When your head comes in contact with an opposing force, your brain can be impacted by force through open or closed wounds to the skull.

Open wounds cause more severe traumatic brain injuries. Closed wounds like those from a non-puncturing blow to the head through force of impact or hitting the steering wheel are often the cause of concussive traumatic brain injuries. 

Inside Your Head 

When you suffer a violent blow or impact to your head, your brain moves inside your skull, causing internal damage. Your brain may hit the interior walls of your skull and bruise, swell, twist, or rotate in ways that are damaging.


When the brain suffers such damaging impacts, it causes a host of symptoms that medical specialists can quickly identify if you seek medical treatment immediately following your accident. To the untrained eye, it may seem like you are simply disoriented from the events of the crash. In reality, your brain is undergoing biochemical changes at the cellular level that require treatment. 

What Are the Grades of Concussions?

A concussion from a car accident is so common that they are split into types and grades. Before identifying subtypes, the severity of the trauma must be placed by a medical professional. Identifying how severe your concussion is will determine whether or not you need around-the-clock care or if you can return home with just occasional check-ins. 

Severe: Grade Three Concussion 

A grade three concussion is judged on whether or not the person who has the trauma ever lost consciousness. If the person blacked out for any reason or could not respond for any amount of time, the concussion is considered severe. This person will require constant monitoring for the first 48 hours and potentially longer depending on the nature of their injuries. 

Moderate: Grade Two Concussion

Grade two concussions are considered moderate because they never lose consciousness, but they have more than three persistent symptoms that indicate irregular brain function. In many cases, confusion, temporary amnesia, nausea, and headache are a straightforward combination of indicators that a person is suffering from a moderate concussion. People diagnosed with mild concussions usually only require monitoring for 24 hours to ensure that they can wake up and respond to regular stimuli. 

Mild: Grade One Concussion 

Grade one concussions are the most common concussions and overlooked TBIs. Because grade one concussions share general malaise and flu-like symptoms, many people pass off their TBI as expected side effects of an accident. This response is dangerous because if left undiagnosed, even a grade one concussion can become more severe.

If you suffered a simple fall or bump to the head, your grade one concussion could turn dangerous very quickly. People diagnosed with grade one concussion are generally prescribed rest, temporary suspension of activities, and the occasional check-in from friends or family members after being sent home. 

What Are the Types of Concussions?

Because TBIs are still being studied and discoveries are still being made about how the brain works, science is still learning about how biochemical changes happen during a concussion. Some people have full recoveries from mild and even moderate concussions. However, others may experience lasting TBI symptoms, no matter the grade, especially if the trauma is severe. Concussion subtypes can help identify the different ways that biochemicals change the brain, whether it be for short-term or long-term durations. 


Vestibular concussions are classified by their sensitivity to movement and disoriented spatial awareness. People who experience this type of concussion are also likely to report being light-headed, nauseous, and dizzy. Vertigo and disequilibrium are common indicators of vestibular concussions. 


It may seem like a headache comes with every concussion. However, some injuries have persistent symptoms that last more than a few minutes and sometimes continue for days or even weeks following the accident. Headache concussions are a commonly diagnosed subtype. Many people experience typical headache symptoms, while others complain of feelings more akin to migraines.

Reported symptoms of this subtype include nausea, unbearable head pain, and extreme sensitivity to sensory stimuli: light and sound present particular challenges for people who suffer from headaches or migraine concussions. 


Without recurring dynamic vision therapy, ocular-motor concussions can make it difficult to see at all following your car accident injury. This subtype of trauma includes biochemical changes that affect your vision and spatial judgment. People who experience ocular-motor concussions report challenges focusing, double vision, blurred vision, pressure and pain in the eyes, and the inability to judge distances correctly.


One of the least understood aspects of concussions and TBIs, in general, is the biochemical changes that happen during the injury that affects your overall demeanor and mood. Many friends and family members end up being the ones who take injured parties to the hospital for evaluation because of inconsistent or uncommon behavior. 


Sometimes, the mood subtype of concussions can be resolved with counseling to address any PTSD that may have surfaced as a response to the trauma of a concussion after a car accident. In other cases, cognitive-behavioral therapies are implemented to attempt to bring back the person that once was. People who experience mood changes due to a concussion may or may not have a history of mental illness. 


TBIs are known for their lasting cognitive effects. Cognitive concussions are usually identified by reports of amnesia, confusion, difficulty with short-term memory, lost time, and delayed reactions. Since concussions are just mild traumatic brain injuries, frequently, the impact of cognitive concussions can still be mitigated for a full recovery. In other instances, people may undergo comprehensive neuropsychological assessments and concussion treatment to support their care plan. 

How Are Concussions Diagnosed?

Since concussions are separated into different grades and different subtypes, individual’s symptoms can vary widely. However, thereindividual’s symptoms that most TBIs share that indicates the presence of a concussion. Once the trauma is identified, a more specific diagnosis can be made to create a unique treatment plan for each individual’s needs. 

Common Patient Complaints 

It is of vital importance to seek medical treatment right after your car accident. However, more concussion symptoms may arise if you wait, making it more challenging to seek help. Be sure to keep the Accident Help Zone bookmarked on your browser if you need to find a doctor who specializes in accident-related injuries fast. If you are experiencing any of the following compounded concussion symptoms that are isn’t commonly reported, you will need additional resoisn’t. 

  • Confusion 
  • Changes in speech 
  • Persistent headache 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Waking sleep state 
  • Numbness 
  • Lack of coordination 
  • Loss of memory 

Common Medical Assessments

Diagnosing a concussion isn’t based on patient reports alone. Medical experts who specialize in auto accident injuries are experienced in knowing which assessments to order based on your complaints. When you tell the doctor your symptoms, they will refer you for additional diagnostic testing to find out more about the specifics of your injuries, including a pinpoint diagnosis with severity. With this information, the doctor will suggest a care plan to help you heal as quickly as possible while expertly managing your symptoms in the meantime. 


As your doctor listens to your recount of the accident and your symptoms, they simultaneously look for sure signs that point to a concussion. Depending on what signs they observe and how many you have, they will recommend additional testing. Doctors are most often looking for:

  • Slurred speech 
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Impaired motor functions 
  • Inability to follow the conversation 
  • Loss of short-term memory 
  • Failure to answer simple questions 
  • Lack of balance 
  • General confusion 

MRI Scans

Your doctor will order an MRI to assess the state of your brain after experiencing a car accident. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, and it is a nonsurgical way for the doctor to evaluate the condition of your brain through high-quality images. MRIs can be 3D or resolved in sections of images that look like slices.

The imaging will show your doctor any damage to the smaller areas of the brain, like blood vessels and capillaries, that may have caused internal bruising or bleeding. An MRI will let your doctor know if the blood flow is typical in your brain or if it is abnormal due to the presence of an injury, like a concussion. 

Neurodiagnostic Testing 

If the doctor suspects abnormalities during the initial observation period, they may order additional neurological-based testing. One aspect of this continued testing is neurodiagnostic testing that tracks eye movement. Since some concussions affect nerves in the brain that control eye movement and response time, such as the biochemical that changes due to an ocular-motor trauma, your doctor will want more conclusive evidence of your diagnosis. 

Neuropsychological Testing 

Another neurological extension of the initial observation includes neuropsychological evaluation. Imaging scans may or may not reveal specific injuries. Doctors must still go further to uncover the severity of your concussion. Common neurophysiological assessments include:

  • Memory games 
  • Answering questions 
  • Performing tasks 
  • Repeating sequences 
  • Finishing series 
  • Naming familiar objects 
  • Reading aloud 
  • Completing a family tree

How Are Concussions Treated?

The treatment plan must be specific to the individual. Your auto accident doctor will evaluate your injuries and create a care plan that you can follow. However, for each concussion caused by a collision, the core sequence of care is still similar from person to person. Only by seeking medical care immediately following your motor vehicle accident can you guarantee the best results through individual diagnosis and treatment. 


Slowing your body down after a car accident is the best way to begin healing from your wounds. Another critical step in recovery is to wait to return to your normal activities for a few weeks and, when you do, ease back in slowly. Your ultimate goal is to create a dedicated space to heal while working to prevent any additional injuries to your head. 


Your doctor may also decide that medication is part of your treatment plan. For people suffering from common symptoms of concussions like headaches and nausea, over-the-counter medications are available. For more significant aches and pains, your doctor may create a medically managed treatment plan that changes over time as you begin to heal. 


Depending on the severity of your concussion, you may require therapy to heal. Treatment can be physical, cognitive, emotional, or a combination of the three to promote healing. Motor functions that may have been impaired due to your concussion may have to be relearned through intensive physical therapy. Cognitive therapy may be used to improve memory or mood challenges. Emotional treatment is often applied to lessen the effects of PTSD after experiencing the trauma of a car crash. 


For some people, medical care for a concussion will only be necessary for a few weeks. For others, their trauma is so severe that they will require ongoing support. Some treatment plans may last for months or even years. 

Who Treats Concussions? 

Doctors who specialize in the treatment of auto accident-related injuries are just a quick search away. The Accident Help Zone makes seeking treatment after your car accident easier than ever before. If you are in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, New Jersey, and the surrounding areas, search our list of specialists who can expertly diagnose and care foworkers’s’oncussion or other auto-related injuries. Our physicians are experienced in treating common auto accidents and work-related trauma, like neck injuries and neck pain, other spinal injuries, including herniated disc, back pain, knee, wrist, and ankle trauma. 


Doctors listed in our free directory accept no-fault insurance, workers’ compensation, PIP (personal injury protection), medical liens, and other medical insurance company plans. Patients will not worry about medical bills. List healthcare providers include neurologists, orthopedists, pain management doctors, spine specialists, primary care physicians, chiropractors, physical therapy, occupational therapy, radiologists, and more. Same-day appointments may be available. Medical records are available upon request for patients treating in the clinics and medical facilities listed in the directory. Call now to schedule an appointment with a trusted injury doctor near you.