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Why Do I Have a Headache After a Car Accident?

  1. Why Do I Have a Headache After a Car Accident?
  2. Possible Causes of Car Accident Headaches
  3. What Should I Do if I Have a Headache After a Car Accident?
  4. Schedule Your Free Consultation With Will Adams Today

Why Do I Have a Headache After a Car Accident?

Post-traumatic headaches are one of the most common symptoms following a car accident. Whether caused by the injury itself or just the stress and anxiety of dealing with the aftermath, headache pain is extremely common after even relatively minor crashes.

The good news is that most post-traumatic headache pain is temporary and not a sign of a more serious injury. However, if you’re dealing with constant or frequent headaches for longer periods of time, or if you have especially intense headaches, it might be a sign of a more serious problem.

It’s important to take any painful symptoms seriously after a motor vehicle accident, including headache symptoms. You should never assume post-crash problems will simply go away with time. While many conditions do improve with time, it’s far better to visit a healthcare provider who can identify (and treat) potentially serious injuries as soon as possible.

Possible Causes of Car Accident Headaches

The sudden and violent jolt of a car accident can injure your head and neck in many ways. Two different crash victims might have similar headache symptoms that come from completely different physical injuries.

Possible headache causes include but are not limited to:

  • Muscle strain. The impact forces of a car accident can overextend, stretch, and sometimes even tear muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the scalp and neck. These injuries can result in tension headaches that are often mild to moderate in severity, come on gradually, and tend to be bilateral (meaning they affect both sides of the head equally).
  • Pinched nerves. Sensory nerves in the head, neck, and spine (such as the greater occipital nerve) are extremely vulnerable in a motor vehicle collision. A pinched nerve in this area can lead to neck pain that radiates forward along the entire pathway of the nerve into the head and forehead. Pinched nerve headaches usually heal on their own in a few weeks to months, but some linger for much longer or require medical treatment to heal.
  • Traumatic brain injury. Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries, also known as concussions. Concussion headaches can come and go for months or even longer after the initial injury. Many crash-related concussions go undiagnosed, especially for victims who have other injuries that need urgent or emergency care. While most concussions do heal completely within 3–6 months, more than 25 percent of cases develop into long-term post-concussion syndrome.
  • Fracture headaches. If your head violently collided with an object such as the steering wheel during the crash, the force of that impact might have been strong enough to cause a closed skull fracture. Fracture headaches often feel like migraine headaches and may cause intense pain (especially near the fracture site, although the pain can appear elsewhere too), nausea, and confusion.
  • Emotional stress and anxiety. Even if you didn’t suffer a head injury, the aftermath of an auto accident can be incredibly stressful. Managing medical appointments, calls with the insurance company adjuster, legal proceedings, and more all take a toll on victims. Stress is one of the most common triggers for persistent headaches, including migraines.

RELATED POST: Do I Have a Concussion From My Car Accident?

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What Should I Do if I Have a Headache After a Car Accident?

Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible

After a car accident, you should always seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you experience any noticeable symptoms. Many conditions are associated with delayed symptoms that might not fully emerge until several days or even weeks afterward. Catching them early usually means a better treatment outcome, and early treatment also makes it easier to prove to the insurance company that your headache pain was a direct result of the crash.

Keep in mind that although you may have received emergency medical treatment, the full extent of your injuries might not be known yet. The truth is that head injuries are often missed by emergency care doctors in the immediate aftermath of the crash. This can happen for any number of reasons; maybe the doctor isn’t an expert in traumatic brain injury cases or needed to prioritize more urgent or immediately apparent injuries. Maybe your symptoms just haven’t become obvious yet. And since headaches are both extremely common and usually temporary after car accidents, victims and doctors don’t always take headache symptoms as seriously as they should.

Follow Up If You Notice Any New or Severe Symptoms

Even if an initial evaluation from a doctor or other medical professional did not identify any serious issues, you should seek further medical care if you’re dealing with any of the following after an auto accident:

  • Persistent headaches that don’t go away or frequently come and go
  • Severe headache pain, such as migraine headaches or cluster headaches
  • Nausea (with or without vomiting)
  • Visual disturbances such as halos, flashing lights, or light sensitivity
  • Other sensory disturbances, such as sensitivity to smell or movement)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Slurred speech
  • Brain fog or confusion
  • Anxiety or depression

Any of these symptoms could be a sign that your headaches and other issues might come from a more serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury.

RELATED POST: 4 Signs You Have a TBI After a Car Accident

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you’re dealing with painful headaches after a car accident, you deserve fair compensation from the at-fault party.

However, headache cases can be challenging to prove to an insurance company or jury. The pain of a headache—or even brain injury symptoms like mood changes or brain fog—isn’t visible to the naked eye, and sometimes the signs of brain injury can even be hard to detect using an MRI or other objective medical test.

Because headache symptoms are often self-reported, insurance companies often accuse innocent accident victims of exaggerating their headache symptoms or blaming pre-existing symptoms on the crash. Successfully countering these claims may require extensive medical records, notes from doctors, statements from colleagues and loved ones, and more.

A personal injury attorney who understands the complexities of headache claims can serve as a huge asset to you as you pursue fair compensation. Even headaches caused by accident-related stress and anxiety can contribute to your overall pain and suffering damages.

Your attorney can help you:

  • Fully investigate the car crash to uncover the truth about what happened and who was responsible. The investigation may include working with accident reconstruction specialists, identifying and preserving camera footage, talking with eyewitnesses, and more.
  • Help you gather the medical records and other evidence you’ll need to prove the severity of your headaches and show the full impact they have had on your life. Without this work, it’s unlikely that the insurance company will provide you with a settlement offer that’s anything close to fair.
  • Negotiate with insurers and medical providers on your behalf. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult for ordinary people to negotiate with, and they use many different tactics to try and pressure victims into giving up their claims or accepting unfair, lowball settlement offers.
  • Handle all other aspects of your legal claim while always answering your questions and keeping you informed about the status of your case.

An experienced attorney can take the challenge and stress out of handling your legal claim and give you the best possible chance at a fair recover—all while allowing you to focus on getting better and being present for your family.

Schedule Your Free Consultation With Will Adams Today

The longer you wait to begin work on your personal injury case, the greater the risk that key evidence gets lost forever, and the more opportunity the insurance company will have to cast doubt on both the cause of the accident and nature of your injuries.

When you seek help from Will Adams Law Firm, your initial consultation is always free, and you won’t owe us anything unless we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Your recovery is our top priority.

To schedule your consultation today, call (281) 371-6345 or fill out the quick contact form on our website.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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