Getting into a car crash is a terrifying and frustrating experience. It doesn’t matter where you were headed, your whole day grinds to a stop. You may think you weren’t hurt and simply want to move on, but you will have to wait for law enforcement to come before you can leave the scene. In your rush to put the experience behind you, you may accidentally overlook signs of a potentially serious injury.

If you don’t have any broken bones or obvious signs of trauma, you may assume you don’t need medical care. However, it is often in your best interests to see a doctor, just in case you’re missing something. Adrenaline from the crash can keep you from noticing pain and other symptoms. Also, in the case of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), the worst symptoms may not develop right away after the collision.

There are many ways to suffer a TBI in a collision

It’s quite common for drivers and passengers both to strike their heads during a crash. Whether your forehead smashed into the steering wheel or you hit your head against a window or other part of the vehicle, any blow to the head demands a medical evaluation. Early diagnosis and intervention can improve the prognosis for patients with TBIs. Also, a timely evaluation can also help you establish a connection between your condition and the car crash.

Even if you didn’t hit your head, you could still have a brain injury. If your vehicle gets thrown around or rolls, that could cause shaking of your head, which is also a cause of TBIs. Also, if you lost consciousness, even for a second, you need to seek medical evaluation to see if you sustained a TBI as a result of the crash.

TBIs can take time to show symptoms

The primary purpose of your skull is to keep your brain safe. But if your brain is swelling, bruising or bleeding, your skull can make the issue worse. With nowhere to go, the pressure from those injuries can cause additional damage to your brain. That can make symptoms get worse over time.

Minor TBIs can have symptoms ranging from nausea and issues with speech to blurred vision, sensitivity to light and even feeling confused. Other symptoms could include persistent or worsening headaches, seizures, repeated vomiting, difficulty waking up, loss of coordination and unusual behavior. TBIs can cause serious physical and social issues.

Left untreated, your TBI could get worse over time, possibly resulting in permanent disability. The longer you wait for medical evaluation and treatment, the harder it could be to connect to adequate compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you have any reason to suspect a potential brain injury, you should go straight to the doctor from the accident scene or as soon as you suspect something is wrong.