Some people are lucky and go their whole lives without being involved in an auto accident. Most people don’t know what to expect after being in a car accident and maybe unsure of what to do.

Accidents can be stressful, and your initial adrenaline may keep you from even knowing if you are injured. It may take hours or weeks before the symptoms of your injuries present themselves. Even if you expect your expenses will be taken care of and you don’t expect to file a claim later, you might want to talk to an attorney early on if you have a problem so you understand your rights.

Can a Car Accident Cause Vertigo?

dizzy female

Sometimes the first sign that something is wrong after an accident is a feeling of disorientation or dizziness. You should always pay attention to your body and seek help from a competent medical professional as soon as possible if you feel like something is wrong, especially after something as physically and emotionally traumatic as an automobile accident.

Many people put off going to a doctor simply because they want to get on with their day, but this can lead to worse problems later. Everyone is busy, and it can be frustrating to take time out for emergency care when your plans were already interrupted. But when you don’t deal with your issues immediately, you could end up suffering from worse injuries later on.

Dizziness is a symptom that should never be taken lightly because it can be a symptom of dangerous conditions. Whiplash and concussion are two of the most common reasons you might be feeling a sense of vertigo after being in an auto accident. Feeling dizzy after a car accident can also cause you to make mistakes and affect your balance, causing you further injury.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, caused by different kinds of physical trauma, such as a blow to the head or participation in a contact sport, that can affect how your brain functions. A concussion can lead to other problems and can interfere with health and daily living.

The Cause of Concussion After an Accident

When you are in an accident, your body is hopefully restrained by your passenger restraint system. Your head and upper body are jerked around by the impact of the crash, basically causing your brain to move violently around in your head. This physical impact can lead to damage and bleeding.

Symptoms

Concussion symptoms might not be obvious if you have not dealt with a head injury before. Symptoms can last for hours, days, weeks, or even longer, and may get worse if you don’t get help. Some of the immediate symptoms may include:

  • a sense of dizziness or “seeing stars”
  • nausea or vomiting
  • amnesia, where you might forget the time period right around the time of the crash
  • confusion or vertigo
  • slurred speech
  • fatigue or drowsiness
  • ringing in your ears
  • or even a temporary loss of consciousness.

old man plugging ears

As time goes on, you may experience other symptoms, like problems with your memory, sensitivity to light and/or noise, problems with your sense of taste and smell, and personality changes, including irritability and depression. Children suffering from a concussion may seem drowsy, dazed, or irritable, and may have problems with balance and walking. Children may also suffer personality changes as a consequence of suffering from a concussion.

Treatment

The first thing a doctor will do when evaluating whether you have a concussion is to conduct a thorough evaluation. A neurological evaluation will check your senses, coordination, and reflexes. Cognitive testing looks for memory and concentration problems, and imaging tests such as an MRI which can actually examine your brain to look for problems. If you think you might have a concussion, you should have someone watch you while you sleep.

Rest is the best way to recover from a concussion, and you will probably have to cut down on any strenuous activities for a while. Even mentally strenuous activities should be kept to a minimum, such as schoolwork, reading, or working on a computer. Your doctor may recommend a shortened work or school day while you recover. Over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin can help with pain symptoms.

Whiplash

Many people don’t realize they’re suffering from whiplash at first. Whiplash is not always well understood because of its unusual causes and symptoms, but it can affect your overall quality of life, so you should make sure to watch for symptoms and treat them if you experience problems.

Causes

Whiplash occurs during car accidents when your head makes a rapid back and forth movement from the force of the impact. There are other ways it can happen, but the most common cause is when someone in a vehicle is rear-ended by another vehicle.

Symptoms

The symptoms most likely to show up during the first 24 hours include:

  • neck pain and/or stiffness, or difficulty moving the head in a normal pattern
  • headaches, which often start at the base of the skull and work their way up
  • upper body tenderness, including in your arms, shoulders, or upper back
  • tingling or numbness in your upper body
  • fatigue
  • or dizziness

Symptoms may be exacerbated by other factors like age or preexisting conditions.

male whiplash after car accident

Treatment

In order to diagnose your condition, your doctor will examine you by checking out the areas where you are having trouble. Your doctor will find out your range of motion and ask about where your pain is and the pattern in which you experienced symptoms. Treatment will basically accomplish three different goals: manage your pain, restore your range of motion, and let you go back to your normal life and range of activities.

Pain management can be accomplished by using a variety of complementary methods. Rest is the most important part of your recovery, and you may need to take time off from work. You can apply heat or cold on a schedule throughout the day to help deal with swelling and pain.

Painkillers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen will help deal with mild or moderate amounts of pain, and your doctor can write a prescription if over-the-counter medications aren’t enough. Muscle relaxers and injections may be necessary if you don’t get relief from milder treatments.

In order to restore your range of motion, you will probably need to exercise and attend physical therapy sessions. Your doctor or physical therapist will help you find the exercises that will benefit you the most. When traditional methods don’t work, you can supplement them with acupuncture, chiropractic care, and/or massage.

After Every Car Accident

Even if you don’t believe you suffered injuries during a car accident, follow the regular legal process to make sure the accident is well documented and you know how to contact the other driver. If you can’t find the driver who caused the accident, you will never be able to get them to pay for your expenses. Learn the laws in Arizona that determine what you should do when you are involved in an accident.

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All drivers in Arizona are required to carry auto insurance, and you should exchange identification and insurance information with the other driver when you are in an accident. While you are not personally required to report every accident, law enforcement officers have a duty to report any accident involving personal injury or one where physical damages exceeded $1,000.

If you stay at the scene of the accident, you can have the officer collect the information from your accident so an official report will be filed within 24 hours. The officer has more authority than you and will make an official record not just of who was involved but how the accident happened. You can use the officer’s testimony and the report later as part of your evidence for your case.

Arizona uses a comparative negligence standard in personal injury cases, so you may be eligible for compensation even if you were partially at fault. In states that use a contributory theory of negligence, victims who are even 1% at fault are barred from seeking compensation if they are injured during an accident, meaning that even a small mistake could bar your recovery completely.

With comparative negligence, you simply add up all the expenses incurred during the accident and then figure out how much fault each party had in causing the accident. For instance, if you were 20% at fault but suffered $100,000 worth of damages, the other party owes $80,000.

Find Someone Who Can Answer Your Questions

Getting into an accident can be frightening and stressful, and you may have a difficult time figuring out what to do next. Even when the rules seem crystal clear, your situation may feel different. That is why it is important to ask questions if you ever have any doubt.

The law firm of Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC has been helping accident victims in the Mesa, AZ for over 50 years. Our aim is to live up to our own high standard of care while treating each client with respect and consideration. Every case is the most important case to the client, and we treat each situation with the sense of urgency it deserves.

Whether your case involves Motorcycle Accident, Serious Injuries, Unlawful Death, or simply straightforward Personal Injury, we will offer a free consultation and let you know the options you have for your particular case. If you have been injured in or around the Phoenix area, call Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC today so we can help you get started.