Can you drive with a concussion?
At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we advise all our clients to talk to their doctor before driving with a concussion. However, daily responsibilities might keep you from getting the help you need.
Your injuries require the care of your doctor before engaging in risky activities like driving, but we hope the information below will prove useful in discussions with your experienced medical professional.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a severe impact that forces the brain to move back and forth, damaging tissue while creating chemical imbalances that your brain has to recover from.
Despite concussions being classified as a mild traumatic brain injury by doctors, the side effects from any brain injury are anything but mild.
Signs of a Concussion
You don’t have to be unconscious to suffer from a serious brain injury. Some mild symptoms include:
- Inability to recall past or future events
- Dampened motor skills
- Double-vision or dizziness
- Unable to handle excessive light or noise
Even without symptoms, it is possible for people after recovering to suffer from dampened driving ability. Your injury might involve different symptoms depending on how hard you were hit, so consult a medical professional for information regarding your specific case.
People have recovered from mild concussions after a few days, but it is possible to sustain enough force to form a blood clot in your brain, requiring immediate medical attention. Call 9-1-1 and have a trusted individual drive you to the nearest hospital.
Symptoms that may require medical attention include:
- Swelling from your pupils
- Headaches that persist or get worse
- Frequent nausea and vomiting
- Another black out
If you’ve had concussions in the past, you may be at risk for Second Impact Syndrome, in which the brain swells after sustaining another concussion during your brain’s recovery period. This type of swelling can be fatal or result in life-long disability, further stressing the importance of rest after injury.
Types of Concussion Grades
The Barrow Neurological Institute measures cerebral concussions in three grades:
Any sign of unconsciousness after suffering from a traumatic brain injury needs immediate attention.
Should I Drive With A Concussion?
Concussions can range from mild symptoms to life-threatening, but it is generally recommended that you don’t drive after 24-48 hours after the accident. Avoid driving for longer if symptoms that impair your motor skills continue, like:
- Difficulty turning your head
- Light and Sound sensitivity
- Worsened symptoms after driving
If you are still concerned about your health and whether you should drive with a concussion, it is better to hold off until cleared by your doctor. Traumatic brain injuries affect your motor skills, and the California DMV might consider your injury a Lapse of Consciousness Disorder, having your driving ability evaluated.
Also, further stress to your brain while it's recovering might cause swelling, turning your mild symptoms into a serious medical condition.
Common Causes for Concussions
Any strong blunt impact that can rattle your brain is a potential risk for TBI, but these are the most common ways people can get a concussion according to the CDC:
- Falls, accounting for 30% of all TBI-related deaths between 2018 and 2019
- Car Crashes, making up 17% of all TBI-related deaths
- Unintentional impacts, coming from either sports or other accidents
Your risk of suffering from a concussion rises as you get older, affecting your motor skills and ability to drive even further.
Compensation for a Traumatic Brain Injury
If you suffered a concussion and you feel like you were unjustly injured, you may have a case. Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for a free consultation regarding your Traumatic Brain Injury, and we will have one of our expert legal professionals evaluate your case so you get the compensation you deserve. Call us any time at 888-243-1195.
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