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  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

Bad Headaches after Car Accident Incidents - When to Be Concerned

Updated: Jan 17

Having a headache after a car accident could lead to debilitating pain. They may be a symptom for something else, such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury. Generally, early documentation and medical attention after an auto accident are crucial. However, accident victims must know what to do or where to turn if they have intense headaches because it could be a significant health burden.

What's a Post-traumatic Headache?

What's a Post-traumatic Headache?

In most cases, a headache after a car accident is caused by a blow to the head or some other traumatic event. They're often called post-traumatic headaches because they are painful, and victims might have them immediately. Still, they can start days or weeks after the original crash.

What to Do for Post-traumatic Headaches after a Car Accident?

Proper medical attention is necessary to make sure that the victim of the motor vehicle accident gets the help they need. However, legal compensation may also rest on seeking care for headache pain. These are the steps to take:

  1. Go to a doctor or hospital immediately for an examination.

  2. Don't try to tough it out.

  3. Speak with car accident attorneys who handle personal injury cases like this.

  4. Tell the auto insurance company about the pain and other problems.

  5. Don't sign releases, settlements, or waivers without speaking to a lawyer.

Common Causes

Having a constant headache from a car accident is quite common. It happens when the victim suffers trauma to the neck or head. It might be a direct blow or could be caused by a sudden and violent jolt.

Generally, a headache after a car accident can be caused by:

  • Trauma where the victim hits their head on the steering wheel, dashboard, or anything solid

  • Muscle stiffness, such as muscle strain or spasm in the upper back or neck

  • Pinching of the nerves at the base of the skull or in the spine

  • Disc herniations and bulges in the spine

  • Fractured skull or spine

Often, victims are rear-ended and experience a post-traumatic headache after a car accident. This is because the neck whips forward and backward, causing the pain. It's often called whiplash, but it might indicate a traumatic brain injury, too. Even if there's no TBI, whiplash headaches can be devastating on their own.

Headache After Minor Car Accidents

Yes, it's possible to get a headache, even if the car accident was minor. However, the severity of the damage isn't determined by how bad the crash was. Debilitating and severe headaches may result from low-impact crashes, too.

Some factors might affect the severity of the pain, such as the head position, age, gender, and past history of concussion or brain injury.

Common Symptoms

Victims could start suffering from constant whiplash headaches immediately after the car accident. Symptoms to consider include:

  • Stiff neck

  • Neck pain

  • Dull or aching head pain

  • Loss of appetite

  • Tenderness of the scalp, shoulders, and neck

  • Sensation of pressure or tightness in the forehead or the back of the head

Types of Headaches

There are many types of headaches that neurologists call post-traumatic. For example, the auto accident victim might have:

  • Post-concussion headaches

  • Muscle-contraction/spasm headaches

  • Musculoskeletal headaches

  • Chronic facial headaches

  • Bone-fracture headaches

  • Whiplash headaches

  • Cluster headaches

  • Tension headaches

  • Constant daily headaches

  • Cervical thoracic somatic headaches

  • Migraine headaches

  • Vascular headaches

  • Occipital neuralgia headaches

  • Nerve dysfunction headaches

Could They Be Migraine Headaches?

Yes, migraine headaches after a car accident are quite common, and the symptoms may include:

  • Light sensitivity

  • Nausea (sometimes with vomiting)

  • Sound sensitivity

  • Visual disturbances (flashing lights or blind spots)

  • Anxiety

  • Irritation

  • Confusion

  • Memory loss

  • Clouded thoughts

  • Sensitivity to smells and movements

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Balance problems

  • Dizziness

  • Sleep problems

  • Depression

Don't Ignore It

Regardless of when the car accident headaches start, they shouldn't be ignored. They might be from a brain injury, closed-head injury, or concussion, even if it hasn't been diagnosed immediately.

People suffering after a motor vehicle collision should get help from medical professionals immediately. While they hope the headache pain goes away, timing is crucial to ensure that the victim receives proper treatment to start recovery. The same goes for other types of injuries, such as having broken ribs from a car accident.

Early documentation may also reduce the risk of long-term disability after a car accident.

With that, getting medical attention documents that the victim was having car accident headaches after the trauma. This might safeguard their legal rights for compensation paid for by the insurance company.

If another party was at fault for the car accident, this also helps the attorney seek fair and full compensation for medical losses and pain and suffering. It's much easier to prove that the injuries were caused by the trauma when medical treatment is rendered quickly. That way, insurance companies can't reject the claim or argue that it was caused by something other than the crash.

Questions Asked by Medical Personnel

Most medical professionals ask specific questions to determine if it's a serious injury. These can include:

  • Does the victim feel dizzy or nauseous?

  • Does the victim have a loss of appetite?

  • Is there scalp tenderness or tenderness in the shoulder and neck muscles?

  • Is there a sense of pressure or tightness on the sides of the head or in the forehead?

  • Does the victim feel aching, dull head pain?

  • Are there any mood swings or personality changes?

  • Did the victim lose consciousness at the crash scene?

The attorney may also want to speak with anyone else in the home, such as a significant other, spouse, or family member. They may remember things that the victim can't or won't.

Must Take Initiative to Report

Generally, constant headaches after an accident are ignored unless the victim reports them. With that, it is the responsibility of the victim to get early documentation that they're suffering from headaches. Otherwise, this leads to problems later for getting the insurance company to payout later.

A lawsuit should focus on pain and suffering, but a long delay or gap in treatment means that those injuries must settle for less money than necessary. Plus, the earlier the headaches are documented, the faster the patient can get specialized care. The primary doctor must refer them to a neurologist, which may take six months or more for most health insurance policies.

Could Headaches Be Something More Serious?

Constant headache pain could be a symptom of an undiagnosed medical condition, such as mild traumatic brain injuries, tension headaches, closed-head injuries, and concussions.

Treatments for Headaches after a Car Accident

Treatment for a headache from a car accident often starts with medication, including:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Anti-seizure medication

  • Beta-blockers

  • Antidepressants

However, there are various treatment options if medication isn't successful to get rid of the headache. They can include:

  • Procedures - They can include injections of local anesthetic around the nerve or trigger-point injections from a corticosteroid and numbing agent at the point of the pain.

  • Alternative medicine - These can include chiropractic care, minerals/vitamins/herbs, massage, meditation, acupuncture, and biofeedback (being more aware of heart rate, skin temperature, and muscle tension and then changing the body's response).

  • Counseling and Therapy - That can include a support group, counseling, and therapy for people struggling to deal with the disruption of their normal life, discomfort, and pain.

In general, treatment for other conditions and personal injuries, such as post-concussion syndrome and a brain injury, might have a secondary effect and improve those, as well.

What Legal Rights Does a Victim Have?

What Legal Rights Does a Victim Have?

Every case, person, and injury are different. However, a headache could be disabling, painful, and permanent, and therefore worth significantly higher legal compensation amounts.

Most lawyers try not to take such cases or bring about a lawsuit for pain and suffering, and there's a good reason. They believe that these invisible injury cases are too difficult to prove in court. Therefore, it's crucial to find an experienced lawyer with a record of success for these injuries.

A headache after an auto accident could be the first and most important symptom of very severe injuries, including concussions and TBIs.

Therefore, accident victims must fight for compensation and understand that traumatic events like these are dangerous. Most people have debilitating headaches throughout their lives because of car crashes. The responsible party should be held liable to support accident victims through their whiplash injury and head trauma. Sometimes, brain damage is possible, which means medical care for the rest of the person's life.

Call the Keating Law Firm

After a car accident, it's crucial to get immediate medical attention for any head injury. Auto accident victims might not realize the sudden force did so much damage to the back of the head. Certain injuries aren't noticeable until an entire week goes by.

Therefore, it's important to know what to do after the car crash. Getting medical care is crucial because the doctors can verify the headache and other damages such as soft-tissue injuries, a reduced range of motion, and all the rest.

They should do a full examination to determine head tenderness and focus on all injuries sustained during the accident.

From there, victims should contact the Keating Law Firm for a free consultation about their case. They also help clients get an average settlement for hit-and-run car accidents.


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