A hematoma after a car accident can be much more than just a bruise. It can be a sign of a very dangerous head injury that causes death or permanent brain damage. A brain hematoma occurs when the brain’s blood vessels rupture, causing blood to collect between the brain and skull. The resulting pressure can cause damage to the brain.
Seeking prompt medical attention and treatment for a hematoma after a car accident is not only crucial, but it can also be a matter of life and death. The longer it goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more it can grow, putting more pressure on the brain which can cause death or serious brain injury.
However, as important as seeking prompt medical treatment is, the need for medical treatment is not always obvious. It may develop slowly, sometimes taking hours or days to appear after a crash. In fact, it is possible for it to appear perfectly fine after a head injury. This is the infamous “talk and die syndrome” situation where many vehicle crash victims never realize they have suffered a brain injury, unknowingly losing precious time that that may have saved their health and their lives.
What is a hematoma after a car accident?
The most common type of hematoma after a car accident is a type of closed head injury that occurs when trauma to the head from a motor vehicle crash causes the blood vessels to the brain to rupture. Blood collects between the brain and skull, putting pressure on the brain that can cause loss of consciousness, brain damage or death.
Why is a hematoma after a car accident so dangerous?
A hematoma after a car accident is very dangerous – and potentially deadly – because the collection of blood between the brain and the skull puts pressure on the brain and begins compressing the brain causing progressively worse damage. This pressure and compression on the brain results in brain injury and damage. This can also impair a person’s ability to breathe and the body’s ability to control blood flow. This type of brain injury can lead to coma, death or permanent brain damage.
What to do for a hematoma after a car accident
If you have suffered a hematoma after a car accident, follow these steps:
- Get examined immediately: Time will be of the essence for any type of brain injury that causes this to develop. When it comes to properly diagnosing and treating a hematoma after a car accident, the sooner a person gets the proper diagnostic tests and medical treatment, the better the chances they have of preventing a potentially more serious and permanent brain injury. In fact, it could mean the difference between life and death. Left undiagnosed and untreated, this injury can be fatal. As an injury lawyer, I always advise people that the sooner they can get the necessary and appropriate medical care, the sooner they can get back on the road to good health and a full recovery. Never is this advice more important and true than it is with any type of injury to the brain, such as this one.
- Diagnostic testing – Get medical treatment immediately and get a referral for the appropriate diagnostic imaging immediately. It can can grow rapidly and become life-threatening quickly.
- Talk to an experienced brain injury attorney. Most experienced brain injury lawyers have helped people who have suffered a hematoma after a car accident. Most personal injury lawyers have not, so consulting with an attorney who understands the brain and brain injury and is also familiar with Michigan No-Fault insurance and litigating vehicle crashes is especially important in regards to this type of injury. The initial call is always free so at the very least you will be informed as to what your own No-Fault insurance company is responsible to pay and what medical help and wage loss you are entitled to. An attorney can also help you review your medical records as well as the medical treatment and care you’re receiving to make sure your bills are getting paid and what your case might be worth if your pain and disability was caused by another driver’s negligence or carelessness from a crash.
- Inform your auto insurance company about your automobile crash. If you live in Michigan, you must make sure to include this in your application for No-Fault benefits, which is also referred to as your “written notice of injury” – which must be given to your No-Fault auto insurance company “within 1 year after the accident.” (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4)). Brain injury treatment can be extremely expensive, so it is very important to inform your insurance company and properly set up a claim.
- Do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers related to your automobile crash: Until you have talked with an experienced attorney, do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers that are presented to you by your auto insurance company, the at-fault driver’s auto insurer or any other insurance companies or persons.
How to file a No-Fault claim
In Michigan, you start your claim for hematoma after a car accident by filing an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible auto insurance company, according to the No-Fault law’s “priority” rules. The No-Fault insurer will pay for your medical bills and your lost wages if you cannot return to work.
Can you sue for this injury?
Yes. You can also sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation as a result of your collision-related injuries, but you will first have to show that the other driver was at-fault for causing the crash and that your mental trauma constitutes a “serious impairment of body function” under our auto law.
Additionally, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for other economic damages, such as excess and future medical bills and lost wages.
Finally, If your own No-Fault auto insurance company refuses to pay for – or cuts-off – No-Fault benefits related to your medical treatment and care or wage loss for a hematoma after a car accident, then you can sue for unpaid, overdue medical bills, attendant care, medical mileage, replacement services and lost wages because your injury has prevented you from returning to work.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms – either immediately after or in the hours and days and weeks after suffering a blow to the head or after having been involved in a car crash – then you should seek medical attention as soon as possible:
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of movement (paralysis)
- A persistent headache
- Blurred vision
- Pupils are not equal in size
- Slurred speech
Testing and diagnosis
When you seek medical attention for a hematoma after a car accident, your doctor will likely conduct a physical examination to check. Your doctor will also likely order one or more of the following diagnostic tests to look for signs of intracranial bleeding and, thus, to either confirm or rule out the existence:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
Because of the seriousness of a hematoma after a car accident, many vehicle crash victims require ventilators to assist with their breathing, CPR and even defibrillation to keep their hearts beating.
It is frequently the case that surgery is the only treatment that can save a person’s life when a potentially fatal brain injury such as this has occurred. The two types of surgery that may occur include:
- Burr hole trephination – This involves drilling a hole in the skull over the hematoma area and suctioning out the blood through the hole.
- Craniotomy – This involves removing (and later replacing) a section of the skull to gain better access to the hematoma and reduction of the intracranial pressure.
Need help finding the right lawyer? Call Michigan Auto Law first
If you have been injured in an automobile crash and would like to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.