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How to distinguish between a traumatic brain injury and whiplash

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Personal Injury |

A car accident can have a devastating effect on anyone. It may cause serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). What makes this extra dangerous is that you might confuse TBI with whiplash. These two conditions share very similar symptoms. Knowing the difference between the two is essential to getting you the correct treatment and preventing the condition from getting worse over time.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash, a common injury sustained after a car accident, occurs when your head is jerked forward and then back rapidly upon impact from a crash. When your neck suffers a serious jolt, you might experience neck pain and stiffness, dizziness, headaches that often start at the base of the skull, fatigue, numbness, loss of range of motion in the neck and tingling or numbness in the arms.

You may also experience blurred vision, tinnitus or ringing in the ears, sleep disorder, trouble focusing, depression and mood swings. You might also find yourself crankier than usual and having trouble remembering things.

You might get an initial diagnosis of whiplash, which might initially mask the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. You might even get a diagnosis of a concussion, a milder type of TBI. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, it is important that you get an MRI or CT scan immediately after a car accident.

What is traumatic brain injury?

Similarly, a traumatic brain injury usually happens when the head or body receives a violent blow or jolt. It also results from an object that penetrates and damages the brain tissue. Mild cases of TBI may have a temporary effect on your brain cells, while more severe cases may result in bruising, tearing of tissues, bleeding and other damage to the brain. These injuries may cause long-term complications and can even be fatal.

A TBI differs from whiplash in that symptoms of the latter usually go away in a short amount of time. TBI usually causes cognitive changes that linger for a long time. These changes can significantly alter your life and may be debilitating.

If you suffer from a TBI following a car accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process.