You are driving along your normal route when suddenly you are blindsided by another motorist. The collision causes you to hit your head against the steering wheel. Now you are dealing with painful headaches and are not sure what to do. You might be suffering from a traumatic brain injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point to motor vehicle accidents as one of the top causes of TBIs. Continue reading for useful information regarding causes, symptoms and treatment of these injuries.

How it happens

There are two main types of TBIs, open head and closed head. Most TBIs related to car accidents are closed head injuries, meaning you suffer a blow to the head from an object inside your car, rather than something penetrating your brain. However, penetration is not necessary for brain trauma to occur. The sheer force of your head hitting your steering wheel can cause your brain to collide against the inside of your skull. This often leads to a concussion (bruising) and hemorrhage (bleeding).

Recognizing symptoms and what to do next

Sometimes symptoms of a TBI are not immediately apparent. You might start noticing them days, weeks or even months after the accident. Common symptoms include a constant headache, fuzzy vision, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and heightened emotions. If you struck your head in a car accident but do not notice many symptoms yet, it is still a good idea to get checked out by a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent serious permanent damage.

If you did not seek medical attention immediately after your accident, you should consider doing so now. It is much better to be safe than sorry. Hitting your head is never something to downplay. Even if you only have a headache, a doctor should evaluate you. A diagnosis as soon as possible can improve both your long-term prognosis and your options for seeking compensation.