When you hear about internal injuries, you may think primarily of organs in your chest or abdomen. However, after a car accident, an internal head injury may be more likely than a damaged kidney or punctured lung. Not only that, but you could also sustain a serious brain injury without even hitting your head if the force of the collision causes your brain to hit the inside of your skull.
WebMD provides details about what happens when you have a hemorrhage inside your skull.
At first, a bleeding artery may not cause any problems for you at all, particularly if it is a slow bleed. However, when blood accumulates between your skull and your brain, it can create pressure against the gray matter that blocks or reduces the blood flow, decrease the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and, ultimately, kill brain cells.
If you suddenly get a severe headache or pass out two weeks after the accident, you may not connect the medical event with the car crash. If your symptoms are the result of a hemorrhage, though, your life could be in danger. Other warning signs that may come on gradually or strike without warning include:
- Language comprehension issues
- Numbness, weakness or tingling in your arms or legs
- Sensory changes
- Nausea or vomiting
Any of these issues could have one or more other causes, too, such as whiplash or a virus, for example. It is better to be safe than sorry, though, so you may want to seek medical attention to rule out a brain injury. If the problems are actually due to bleeding, and you do not receive treatment, it could lead to permanent brain damage.
Going to the emergency department for an examination right after the crash may be the easiest way to detect a broken artery and prevent further damage. A doctor may order an MRI or CT scan of your brain and discover the bleed. Depending on the size and location of the injury, he or she may want to take action right away. For example, if you are on a blood thinner, it could increase the rate of bleeding, so the doctor may determine you should stop taking it temporarily. You may need surgery to relieve the pressure, or the doctor may put you on medication to reduce swelling.
If you are concerned about medical expenses, you may want to talk to an attorney about seeking compensation from the other driver's insurance, or filing a lawsuit to recover an award for damages.