Headaches are a common symptom after a car accident, especially if the accident caused a blow to the head or whiplash injuries. In this article, we'll explore ways to address headaches after a car accident in order to protect your legal rights and maximize the value of any injury claim you decide to make.
When Headaches Begin After a Car Accident
For some people who have been involved in a car accident, head pain begins immediately; for others, a headache may not show up until after a few hours or days. In either situation, it is vital to get necessary medical treatment as soon as possible, and make sure to tell the treating physician about every symptom you're experiencing.
Getting prompt medical treatment for a headache after an accident has two benefits. First, it increases the chances that doctors will find the cause of the headache and be able to treat it, which reduces the risk of long-term disability caused by head pain, traumatic brain injury, or other injuries like whiplash. Second, it helps protect your legal rights to seek compensation for medical losses after an accident. The sooner you seek medical care once a headache sets in, the easier it is for you to establish that the accident caused those injuries, and the harder it is for an insurance company to claim that something other than the car accident necessitated your treatment.
Keeping Records of Your Headache
Keeping records after a car accident is wise no matter what symptoms you suffered, but keeping track of your headaches in particular offers two benefits. First, keeping a written headache diary helps your doctors provide better treatment, especially if your headaches persist for a significant amount of time after the accident. Your written records should include the date and time your headaches start, how long they last, how severe they are, and what makes them better or worse.
Second, keeping records helps establish the severity of the pain and suffering you experience related to your headaches. Because compensation for your injuries depends primarily on the extent to which they have affected you (in addition to your medical bills, obviously), having records that track your pain levels, the duration of your headaches, and what activities you must modify or stop doing due to head pain can serve as invaluable evidence in insurance settlement negotiations or at trial.
Establishing the Value of a Headache Claim
The value of a car accident injury claim based on a headache depends on several factors. Some of the factors you can use to establish the value of such a claim include:
- pain and suffering caused by the headache and any other injuries
- the cost of medical care and treatment for headache, including the cost of care for traumatic brain injury, whiplash, or other more serious injuries of which the headache is a symptom
- any loss of income resulting from the head pain -- for instance, lost wages from days you could not work due to severe head pain, and
- loss of enjoyment of life due to headache, if the pain forces you to curtail certain hobbies, family activities, and other items on your schedule.