The violent impact of a car accident can result in severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury. While you might heal from a concussion or a laceration, any head trauma involves the danger of a subdural hematoma – bleeding on the brain – which can be life-threatening.
A subdural hematoma must be treated immediately. It is important to know the signs and to always get medical treatment after a serious crash or blow to the head.
What happens to your brain with a subdural hematoma?
Your skull does not flex or move in any way. Ordinarily, this is a good thing, but with a hematoma, the skull’s protective fortress acts as your worst enemy.
When you suffer from a subdural hematoma, blood is free flowing in the space between your skull and your brain. The injury is not directly to your brain, but the pressure of the accumulating blood can render you unconscious or even kill you. The blood has nowhere to go, and if the bleeding fails to resolve itself, the pressure will continue to build. Surgery can relieve the problem by draining the excess blood and brain fluid.
One of the primary dangers of this injury is that you could walk around for some time with a hematoma before enough blood accumulates to cause you substantial harm. By then, you could pass away without knowing what was happening. For this reason alone, seeking medical attention after a car accident is crucial. Actress Natasha Richardson (“The Parent Trap”) died from a hematoma suffered in a fall while skiing. She complained of a severe and worsening headache but did not get to the hospital in time. She died within four hours of her head injury.
Symptoms to watch for after an accident
Not everyone with a subdural hematoma suddenly falls unconscious or into a coma. You could walk around for days before you recognize that your situation is critical and you need medical care. In the latter instance, you should watch for the following symptoms of a subdural hematoma:
- Headache, especially if it worsens or won’t go away
- Nausea and vomiting
- Change in behavior
- Lethargy or drowsiness
Doctors usually have more than one treatment option, and they will choose the one that provides you with the best possible prognosis. Even so, you could require a substantial amount of time to recover. If you are lucky, you would suffer no ill effects moving forward. But some people suffer stroke-like brain damage and physical impairments, if not death.
If another person's recklessness or negligence caused the crash that led to a subdural hematoma, you could pursue the compensation you need to cover current and future medical costs, lost wages, and other damages.