A headache following a car accident, also known as a "post-traumatic headache," is a result of the trauma experienced during the crash, such as whiplash or the head striking the window, steering wheel, or dashboard. These headaches can be extremely painful and debilitating, and they may occur immediately or after a delay of hours or days following the accident.
One of the most common causes of post-accident headaches is whiplash. This occurs when the head and neck are jolted forward and then snapped back, causing the neck muscles to stretch and strain. Whiplash can result from rear-end collisions, but it can also occur in other types of accidents, such as T-bone or head-on collisions. You don’t necessarily have to hit your head to experience a headache.
Another cause of post-accident headaches is a concussion. This occurs when the brain is forcefully moved around inside the skull, causing a temporary disruption in normal brain function. Concussions can result from any type of car accident.
Car accidents can also cause pinched nerves that lead to headaches. The forceful impact of a crash can cause nerve roots in the cervical spine to become compressed or pinched. This may also lead to disc herniation or irritation of the greater occipital nerve, which is located at the base of the skull.
Steps to Take if You Have a Constant Headache after a Car Accident
If you are suffering from persistent headaches after a car accident and want to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to, follow these actions:
- Seek an immediate medical examination: It is crucial to have your condition assessed by a medical professional without delay. Prompt diagnosis and documentation of the headache will enable you to receive the necessary medical care and ensure your well-being. Additionally, it helps to rule out any potential serious injuries like a traumatic brain injury.
- Document your injuries: Since a headache can be a significant symptom of a brain injury, early documentation becomes essential. This documentation can be vital if an insurance company later denies coverage for medical care due to a delayed diagnosis.
- Don't ignore the symptoms: Regardless of your hope for improvement, persistent headaches should not be ignored. They might indicate a more serious underlying condition that requires timely and proper treatment.
- Consult an experienced attorney: Seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in handling car accident cases involving headaches. They can assess the worth of your case using a car accident settlement calculator, ensure you receive appropriate treatment, and guide you in notifying your insurance company to include your injury in your claim for auto No-Fault insurance benefits.
- Inform your insurance company: Make sure to report your headaches and include them in your application for No-Fault benefits, commonly referred to as "written notice of injury." This notice should be provided to your No-Fault auto insurance company within one year of the accident.
- Avoid signing settlements or releases: Until you have consulted with an experienced attorney who prioritizes your interests, refrain from signing any settlements, releases, or waivers presented by insurance companies or other parties involved in the accident.