Subdural Hematoma After a Car Accident

Brad Nakase, Attorney


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After a car accident, you may feel severe headaches, dizzy, or nausea. A car accident with high impact collision may result in a blow to the brain resulting in subdural hematoma.


A subdural hematoma occurs due to blood clotting outside the brain. The condition can be life-threatening and are caused by severe injury to the head. Subdural hematoma cannot be diagnosed as home, although it is associated with visible symptoms.


Head injuries, no matter how mid it maybe is a medical emergency that can be dreadful and life-threatening. It is recommended that any individual who has experienced a blow to the head and have signs of a stroke or have experienced changes in mood, personality, or consciousness to seek immediate medical help.


Speedy medical assistance is a significant contributor to recovery from head injuries, including subdural hematoma. An individual can die in a few hours if medical intervention is not sought. There are two types of subdural hematomas. Acute subdural hematoma occurs due to head injuries caused by falls and accidents. Non-acute subdural hematomas may happen after a stroke as a result of a brain lesion. However, there may be no clear reason for the occurrence of non-acute subdural hematoma.


People who are vulnerable to the two types of subdural hematomas are the elderly and newborns. The brains of the elderly have blood vessels that may be stretched or maybe shrinking hence making then susceptible to tears. On the other hand, infants have delicate blood vessels, and since the skull is not fused, the effect of head trauma in children can be very severe.


The causes of Subdural Hematomas

Head injuries can result in subdural hematomas. The existence of subdural hematomas can be caused by the breaking of one blood vessel, which leads to bleeding. However, the common causes of subdural hematoma include;

  • Blows to the head that may be traumatic such as blows that may occur during a car accident, falls, or acts of violence. In children and the elderly, it can be caused by a bump to the head.
  • Some people have a bleeding disorder when the blood cannot clot. Also, individuals who take blood thinner are at a higher risk of having subdural hematoma.
  • Multiple head injuries
  • Excessive use of drugs and alcohol
  • Infections or brain lesions.
  • Injuries in the spinal cord that may interfere with the flow of blood to the brain.


 It is recommended that one seeks immediate medical attention when there neurological symptoms. In most cases, the medical team may treat spinal cord injury without assessing brain injuries.


It is rare for subdural hematomas to occur without a reason or symptoms. It might be easy to dread for subdural hematoma when caring for a newborn or a senior. However, the chances of sudden death due to subdural hematoma are almost non-existing.


Symptoms of Subdural Hematoma

Individuals who have suffered from a blow to the head of falls often suffer from subdural hematoma. Therefore, medical attention must be received as quickly as possible after a fall or a blow to the head. Alarming signs for subdural hematoma include;

  • A change in consciousness
  • Challenges when speaking or understanding speech
  • Severe headaches
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • A change in motor skills, particularly abrupt difficulty in walking or maintain balance
  • Confusion
  • Numbness in any part of the body
  • Sudden mood, personality or cognition changes
  • Seizures
  • Changes in vision


It is recommended that parents monitor various signs in babies since they cannot report any experiences. The signs to watch out for include;

  • A bulged or swollen soft on the skull
  • Uncontrolled high pitch crying
  • Increasingly swollen head
  • Unexplained changes in energy levels which are dramatic
  • Seizures
  • Unusual movements
  • Difficulty in moving any part of the body
  • Bruises on the head
  • Vomiting which is not accompanied by signs of infections


Individuals who are young and those at old age are at high risks of subdural hematoma. It is, therefore, important to seek fast medical assistance if the above symptoms are experienced.


Diagnosis of Subdural Hematoma

Symptoms are the first things doctors take into consideration. The doctor may also ask about recent falls, head trauma, or the use of drugs that interfere with blood clotting. The doctor has to conduct a brain imaging scan to make a comprehensive diagnosis


Treatment of Subdural Hematoma

Subdural hematoma can be treated in two ways. The first treatment focuses on stopping the bleeding from saving the individual’s life. The other option is mitigating or reversing any damage caused by the bleeding. The doctor can stop bleeding in various ways, including:

  • Performing emergency surgery by cauterizing the blood vessels. During the surgery, the doctor may drill into the brain to reduce pressure on the blood vessels.
  • Using steroid drugs
  • Asking a patient to stop taking blood-thinning medications. The doctor may also opt to administer a medication that improves clotting.
  • Other drugs, such as anticonvulsants can also be used to improve secondary symptoms.


After the patient is out of danger, the doctor focuses on restoring brain functioning. Subdural hematoma survivors may experience a shorter period of brain damage. However, the individual may experience problems with functioning. To improve functioning, there are various treatments available such as;

  • Mental care to improve mental health
  • Occupational, speech, and physical therapy to help the brain rewire itself while at the same time working around the injuries incurred.
  • Joining support groups and educations programs related to brain injuries
  • Medication to manage long-term effects
  • Lifestyle changes. An individual may decide to change his or her lifestyle if the subdural hematoma was caused by excessive use of alcohol, drugs, or blood clotting disorder.

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Reference:

Subdural Hematoma

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