Some of the most common issues that people experience after car accidents are neck pain and headache pain. These aches and pains can be the result of mild traumatic brain injuries or severe traumatic brain injuries. That’s why you can’t just ignore headaches after car accidents and hope they will go away. A headache after car accident can hint towards a life-threatening injury that requires extensive medical care. Below, the Albany personal injury attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck discuss common types of headaches after car accidents and what you can do to obtain compensation for your suffering.
If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury from an auto accident, you need strong legal representation on your side. Call our Albany legal team at 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation today.
Why Do I Have a Headache After Car Accident?
Intense headaches are common after even the most minor car accident because of the sudden and violent jolt your body experienced in the car. This sudden force can cause your head to whip forward towards your steering wheel or even sideways toward the window. Many healthcare professionals refer to the brain shaking inside the skull as a closed head injury. Without prompt medical care, it can lead to brain damage, severe pain, and other symptoms.
Should I Go to the Doctor for Headache After Car Accident?
Yes, accident victims should certainly seek medical attention for car accident headaches, even if you think that your car accident was minor. Headaches after a car accident can appear an entire week following the traumatic event. Head tenderness and other symptoms can indicate anything between a minor concussion to a serious traumatic brain injury.
Types of Headache After a Car Accident
There are many types of headaches and headache symptoms you can experience after a motor vehicle accident, generally depending on the severity of your accident. If you are experiencing headaches after a motor vehicle collision, you may have grounds to contact an Albany personal injury lawyer and file a claim against the at fault driver.
A concussion is basically a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain moves rapidly back and forth inside the skull. This violent movement can cause the brain to become bruised.
The brain isn’t surrounded by air inside the skull, instead, it’s surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which serves as sort of a cushion for the brain. It helps prevent the brain from hitting the skull while we go about our day to day lives. Still, a traumatic event like a car crash can cause this to happen.
Concussion headaches can be debilitating for several days or weeks. Additionally, concussions can come with other uncomfortable symptoms like slurred speech, sleep problems, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, mood swings, memory loss, etc.
Some car accident victims even suffer from post concussion syndrome, which is when their concussion symptoms last much longer than expected. They may experience frequent migraine headaches, visual disturbances, and all the other uncomfortable concussion symptoms for months or years after their initial injury.
Post-traumatic headaches are often described as tension headaches that begin within a week of the auto accident. These types of headaches after a car accident can be the result of a stiff neck or a muscle strain in the neck. It may also be the result of general head trauma or pinched spinal nerves.
Depending on the severity of the headache pain, car accident victims can suffer other debilitating symptoms as well such as light and sound sensitivity, nausea, sleep problems, dizziness, and more. Post-traumatic headaches can certainly cause debilitating pain for days or weeks following an accident.
A whiplash injury is possibly one of the most common car crash injuries. Even a minor car accident can lead to whiplash, permanent damage, and constant headaches.
Whiplash is basically a soft tissue injury in the neck. This means that the muscles and tendons in the neck and upper back are injured. Whiplash can cause weeks of muscle stiffness in the neck which can also cause head pain, usually at the base of the skull.
Muscle Contraction/Spasm Headaches
Similarly to whiplash headaches, muscle contraction and spasm headaches are considered soft tissue injuries. The violent jolt in a motor vehicle accident can easily cause muscle strain in the upper back, shoulders, and neck. This can lead to general stiffness, pain, and even chronic headaches.
Occipital Neuralgia Headache
Occipital neuralgia headaches are also called pinched nerve headaches. As we all know, the head, neck, and spine are basically a carefully crafted network of nerves. Even a minor injury or car crash can injure one or more of these nerves, which in turn can lead to nerve dysfunction headaches.
An injured or pinched greater occipital nerve is often to blame for headaches like this. The greater occipital nerve is a cervical spinal nerve that travels up the head. Pain from an occipital neuralgia headache can feel throbbing, shocking, piercing, etc.
Lastly, fracture headaches refer to persistent headaches from a fractured skull or neck bone (vertebra). A fracture headache occurs when a car crash victim violently hits their head on their steering wheel or window, causing broken bones in the neck or skull.
If the auto accident was severe enough to cause one or more fractures, it was probably severe enough to also cause some form of a traumatic brain injury. So victims may have a constant headache from the fractures and the bruised brain. Other symptoms that may accompany fracture headaches include sound and light sensitivity, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, memory loss, confusion, mood swings, and more.
Treatment and Recovery for Headache After Car Accident
Treatment and recovery for a headache after a car accident heavily depends on the type of headache you have suffered. If you have suffered a minor case of whiplash or a minor concussion from an auto accident, your symptoms can likely be managed with very little medical intervention. In other words, you can likely recover with plenty of rest at home and with pain medications. In most cases, symptoms from minor neck and head injuries can completely resolve within a few weeks.
More severe neck and head injuries – such as fractures, pinched nerves (radiculopathy), and traumatic brain injuries – will likely require more extensive medical treatment and a longer recovery time. Your doctor will tell you exactly what you can expect as far as recovery goes. You may need surgery, physical therapy, a neck brace, and/or several medications to manage your symptoms.
Is New York a No Fault-State?
Yes, New York is a no-fault state. This is an important thing to remember if you’re seeking financial compensation for a headache after a car accident. Basically, living in a no-fault state means that after an auto accident, you must seek financial compensation from your own insurance company first, even if you’re not at fault for the accident. Whether or not you caused the accident, you can generally recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage from your insurance company. If your auto accident damages exceed your personal injury protection, then you can sue the at-fault driver.
New York Pure Comparative Fault Rule
New York follows a pure comparative fault rule which generally comes into play when both drivers share fault in an auto accident. If you do decide to sue the other driver for your headaches after a car crash, but you also share a small portion of fault in the crash, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Can I Sue for Headache After Car Accident?
Yes, you can sue for a headache after a car accident, especially if your insurance company will not cover the full damages associated with your injury. Various types of headaches (such as a traumatic brain injury, migraine headaches, post-traumatic headache, etc.) can be debilitating. These headaches can lead to several weeks of missed work, thousands of dollars in medical bills, long term pain and suffering, and more. You deserve compensation for this.
Damages for Auto Accident Injuries
Albany personal injury lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can help car crash victims recover compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future physical therapy expenses
- Caregiving expenses if the traumatic brain injury leads to permanent disability
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Counseling expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability
- Funeral and burial expenses if the auto accident resulted in wrongful death
Call Albany Car Accident Lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today
A constant headache after a car crash may sound like a minor injury, but for many crash victims, these headaches can easily become a significant health burden. If this sounds like your situation, you need top-notch car accident lawyers on your side. The legal team at Bailey, Johnson & Peck have what it takes to protect your rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure you receive the justice you deserve after a car accident. Call 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation with us.