Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be one of the most confusing and frustrating effects of a car accident. Unlike broken bones and lacerations, a TBI is invisible and can only be diagnosed through testing. These tests can range from a simple set of instructions and observations by a primary care doctor to brain scans done at imaging centers. But sometimes these tests can fail to reveal results indicating an injury that the patient is almost sure is there.
If your brain scans or other test results came back normal after a car accident, but you are still experiencing symptoms, you could still have a TBI. Understanding the process of testing for a TBI can help you to make informed decisions and get the care, and eventually compensation, that you need.
If you are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries, the Houston car accident lawyers of Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. are here to help.
Should I See a Brain Doctor after a Head Injury in a Car Accident?
Whether or not you feel the need to be rushed to the emergency room, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Even if it is your primary care doctor rather than a neurologist, you can always talk to them about your possible brain injuries.
Many car accident victims suffer a TBI without knowing it. Even if you do not directly hit your head on anything, you can still suffer from a type of injury that occurs when your head swings forward and your brain hits the inside of your skull.
While you do not necessarily need to rush to see a neurologist right away, you should definitely talk to your doctor about the possibility of a brain injury if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after your accident:
- Vision problems
- Seeing spots
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble balancing
- Amnesia or confusion
- Loss of consciousness
All of these and other symptoms could be signs of a mild TBI, also known as a concussion, or of a more serious TBI, although those are typically accompanied by a longer loss of consciousness. If your doctor suspects a concussion, they may ask you to do some simple tasks to test your balance, reflexes, awareness, and vision. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may suggest that you get an MRI to check for a moderate-to-severe TBI. More serious TBIs may be beyond the capacity of your primary care physician to treat, so at that point you may be referredto a neurologist.
How Soon Should I See a Brain Doctor After a Car Accident?
In general, when you are dealing with injuries after a car accident, it is always best to seek the care you need as soon as possible. Getting diagnosed and treated early can help with both your recovery and the claims process when you are seeking compensation. Even a mild Traumatic Brain Injuries can cause dizziness and affect your awareness of your surroundings. If you are feeling dizzy or disoriented, ask someone to take you to the doctor.
When you see your doctor, describe your symptoms in detail. If your symptoms are mild and your doctor suspects a concussion, there may be little to be done other than to rest while you heal. However, if your doctor believes that you may have a more serious TBI, you should seek a proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. This is particularly important if you have experienced any loss of consciousness. If you have been unconscious for any length of time, whether you are seeing your primary care doctor or a neurologist, they will likely send you to get a brain scan.
Does a Negative Test Result Mean I Do Not Have a TBI?
If you have symptoms of a TBI, but the MRI or other brain scan came back normal, that does not necessarily mean that you do not have a TBI. Some TBIs, especially the mild-to-moderate varieties, will never show up on an MRI. That does not mean that they are not there.
These TBIs can still have a huge impact on your ability to work and perform everyday tasks. Even a mild concussion can cause dizziness, headaches, and other symptoms for weeks after an accident, all without ever showing up on a brain scan.
Should I Seek a Second Opinion?
It is possible to be diagnosed with a TBI without an abnormal brain scan. If you are experiencing TBI symptoms but your doctor has dismissed your concerns after seeing a normal brain scan, you may want to seek a second opinion.
Having a properly documented diagnosis in your hands will help immensely if you want to seek compensation for your injuries in a personal injury claim. This is especially true if you want to seek damages for the pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of your brain injury, and if you need to recover lost wages if your injuries have kept you from working. Regardless of how many doctors you see, remember to save all documentation and receipts so that you can seek compensation.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston Today
Just because your brain scan came back normal does not mean you cannot receive compensation for your brain injury. If you are struggling with TBI symptoms after a car accident, Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. is here to help.
Former elected Harris County Attorney Michael P. Fleming has argued and won cases all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he knows how to hold negligent drivers accountable for all of the injuries they cause – eventhe invisible ones. To set up a free consultation with a Houston car accident lawyer, contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. online today or call now.