Head and neck pain after a car accident is extremely common. Your body is held in place by your seatbelt during an auto accident. Meanwhile, your head and neck are not held in place by anything in a vehicle, making them susceptible to jerking and forceful movements when your car is hit in a car accident. The force from these sudden head and neck movements can cause minor to severe injuries that can have life-threatening consequences when you don’t seek medical care after your accident.
Below, Sandy Springs personal injury attorneys at Ashenden & Associates will discuss the most common types of neck and head injuries caused by a car accident and what can happen when you don’t seek medical attention immediately.
If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney with you from the beginning. Call 770-394-8909 to speak with Sandy Springs car accident attorneys at Ashenden & Associates today.
Why Do I Have a Headache After a Car Accident?
Headaches after a car accident are common, even after a minor fender bender, because of the trauma your body experiences during the accident. The force from the car impact can cause your head to be thrown into a window or steering wheel, causing a mild head injury to a more severe head injury. When the brain shakes inside the skull, medical professionals refer to it as a closed head injury. If you don’t seek proper treatment following a car accident where you sustained head trauma, you could be at risk for brain damage, chronic headaches, and more.
Should I Go to the Doctor for Headache After Car Accident?
It’s important to seek immediate medical attention after a car accident, even if you don’t think your headache is serious. Having a headache following a car accident can indicate a more severe injury. For example, having pain at the base of the skull can mean whiplash, leading to chronic head and neck pain if untreated.
You could also suffer from post-concussion syndrome if you have a constant headache that won’t disappear after your car accident. This post-traumatic headache can lead to severe brain damage and chronic pain when untreated.
Common Types of Headache After Car Accident
Depending on the severity of a head injury, the victim of a car accident can suffer from a variety of headaches or headache symptoms. Following a car accident, paying attention to your head pain is essential because it could indicate a much more serious problem. Below, we’ll break down some of the most common types of headaches that can happen following a car accident.
Whiplash headaches are one of the most common head injuries following a car accident. Whiplash happens when the head is thrust forward and immediately snapped back, causing stretching or tearing of the neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The symptoms of whiplash include neck fatigue, pain and stiffness, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and a headache at the base of the skull. Whiplash can lead to a chronic neck injury that decreases your range of motion if left untreated.
The American Headache Society states that 95% of people with a concussion are more likely to develop a headache, while two-thirds may have migraine-type symptoms.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by the brain bouncing inside the skull from a sudden and violent jolt. When the head is directly hit or jerked violently back and forth, the brain can become bruised.
Those suffering from a concussion may experience dizziness, confusion, sensitivity to sound and light, nausea and vomiting, and ringing in the ears. A severe concussion can be characterized by memory loss around the traumatic event, anxiety, problems sleeping, and slurred speech.
If a concussion is not treated, it can lead to post-concussion syndrome. These symptoms include visual disturbances, frequent migraine headaches, and other concussion symptoms that can last months or years following a traumatic brain injury.
Muscle Contraction/Spasm Headaches
Muscle contraction and muscle spasm headaches are caused when the soft tissue in the head, neck, and/or upper back is injured. These injuries cause muscles to strain or spasm leading to headaches, as well as muscle tenderness, painful movements, reduced range of motion, and swelling or redness.
A spasm headache is also known as a tension headache. These are due to the muscles in the head and neck contracting and becoming tense.
Individuals involved in a traumatic accident can experience post-traumatic headaches within a week of the accident. Following a car accident, these headaches are usually caused by a muscle strain in the neck or a stiff neck. It can also cause pinched spinal nerves or overall head trauma.
Victims suffering from severe post-traumatic headaches can experience problems sleeping, dizziness, light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and more. A post-traumatic headache can cause debilitating head pain for weeks following a traumatic accident.
Occipital Neuralgia Headache
Occipital neuralgia headaches are caused by a neurological condition that occurs when the occipital nerves are damaged. These headaches are also known as pinched nerve headaches and can cause throbbing, burning, and aching head pain.
A fracture headache can result from a car accident victim violently hitting their head on a window or steering wheel, causing broken bones in the head and neck. Skull fractures can cause frequent headaches, bruising, and loss of balance. Those suffering from fracture headaches will most likely notice pain in the back of the neck and head.
If an accident is traumatic enough to fracture a person’s skull or neck, they can also have a traumatic brain injury. A head or neck fracture needs immediate medical care.
Treatment and Recovery for Headache After Car Accident
Your treatment following a car accident that resulted in headaches and head pain will largely be determined based on the type of head injury you sustained. If you’re experiencing mild headache pain, maybe from a minor concussion, you may be able to relieve your headaches with minimal medical treatment. Less severe head injuries can usually be treated at home with rest and pain medication. You should seek a medical evaluation if your head and neck pain continues after a week.
In the case of severe head and neck injuries, like skull fractures or severe traumatic brain injuries, your medical treatment plan will be more extensive and require a longer recovery time. Your doctor will decide your treatment following the motor vehicle collision. Some serious head injuries may require surgery, medications, physical therapy, and/or a neck brace to aid with recovery.
Is Georgia an At-Fault State?
Yes, Georgia is an at-fault state, meaning that the at-fault driver in an auto accident can be held liable for property damage and/or personal injuries. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will be the first to cover any liabilities. An injured person can seek damages for the car accident by doing one of the following:
- Filing an insurance claim with your own insurance company. They may go after compensation from the at-fault driver’s own insurance company.
- Directly seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Seeking compensation from insurance companies can be extremely difficult following a car accident. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney from Ashenden & Associates can help ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. They will consult with the insurance company for you and take the issue to court if necessary.
Modified Comparative Fault in Georgia
When dealing with insurance companies after a car accident, they may place some or all of the blame back on you. When this happens, Georgia’s modified comparative fault rule can help eliminate or reduce the damages you could be responsible for if you’re found partially at fault or totally at fault.
According to Georgia’s modified comparative fault rule, you can still file a personal injury claim against the party that holds the majority of the fault. However, if it’s determined that you share a percentage of the fault, your compensation will be reduced by that percentage.
For example, if you’re found to be 10% at fault for the motor vehicle accident, you’ll receive 10% less of the total damages you would have been owed.
Can I Sue for Headache After Car Accident?
Yes, you can sue if you suffer a headache from a traumatic brain injury after a car crash. It’s especially important to consider a personal injury lawsuit if your insurance company won’t cover the full extent of damages from the accident. Head injuries from a car accident, especially severe injuries like fracture headaches or migraine headaches, can be especially debilitating and require extensive medical care that can cost more than the usual insurance company will cover. In addition to medical expenses, a headache after a car crash can lead to lost wages and pain and suffering.
Accident victims can be hesitant to file personal injury lawsuits following car accidents because the entire legal process can be overwhelming. However, medical bills, missing work, and everything else that negatively impacts your life after a car accident can be expensive and lead to financial problems when you don’t receive adequate compensation. Contacting a Sandy Springs personal injury attorney after your car accident is essential so they can manage the legal process and negotiations with insurance companies.
Damages for Car Accident Injuries
If you’re suffering from car accident headaches, Sandy Springs personal injury attorneys at Ashenden & Associates can help you recover compensation for the following damages:
- Lost wages
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future physical therapy costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Home health expenses if the head injury caused disability
- Counseling expenses
- Permanent scarring, disability, and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial costs if the accident resulted in a wrongful death
Call Sandy Springs Personal Injury Lawyers at Ashenden & Associates Today
Persistent headaches following a car accident may not seem like a serious injury, but if left untreated, they can have debilitating consequences. If you’ve been living with chronic headaches after your accident, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Sandy Springs car accident attorneys at Ashenden & Associates have been representing clients for years in their personal injury lawsuits, and they’re ready to represent you too. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 770-394-8909.