What Happens if My Child Sustains a Concussion in a Car Accident?

child concussion

Getting into a car accident is bad enough when you are alone. When your child is in the car with you, your fear and anxiety may be intense. Even though you know you placed your child in their car seat correctly or buckled them in firmly, you are still concerned about their wellbeing, understandably so.

Especially if your child is young, they may not be able to fully communicate with you about any pain they have after the accident. This can be frustrating because all you care about is making sure your child gets better.

Detecting a Concussion in Your Child

A concussion occurs when the body is impacted with such force that it causes injury to the brain. A concussion can happen without a direct impact to the head, making concussions notoriously difficult to diagnose without a medical professional. Whiplash is a common cause of concussions, which is not caused by a blow to the head.

If you suspect your child has been injured, especially a head injury, get them to a doctor immediately. A medical professional can test your child’s cognitive function. They may also run a CT scan or an MRI to see if they can detect any physical brain injuries.

Concussion Symptoms

Pay close attention to concussion symptoms in your child:

  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Excessive crying
  • Changes in their mood or behavior
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Loss of interest in activities, especially their favorite toys
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of new skills

Symptoms of a concussion will vary from child to child, depending on their age and the type of collision you were in. Symptoms can also take time to show up. Sometimes, concussion symptoms do not show until days or weeks after the car accident. 

It is vital for your child’s health that if you are involved in a car accident and you have even the slightest suspicion that they have suffered a head injury, take them to the hospital or to see their doctor immediately. Treating a concussion requires prompt medical attention and diligence on your part to follow the doctor’s orders once you leave.

How Your Child Recovers from a Concussion

After a concussion, most children will fully recover in due time. It is important to make sure your child stays inactive during their recovery. If they are too active, they risk another concussion. Once a person has had a concussion, it is more likely they will suffer another one, especially while they are still recovering from the first.

The most important step in your child’s recovery is rest. This can be difficult for children, but keeping them inside and calm is the best medicine. When the brain is injured, just like any other body part, it will need time to heal. Do not let your child play at the park, participate in sports, engage in horseplay, or do any other activity in which they could smack into someone or something else, further injuring their head.

Depending on the severity of the concussion your child suffered, they may have to undergo additional testing to make sure their brain is healing properly. If your child re-injures their head or there are other problems, take them back to the doctor right away. Further injury can cause brain swelling and permanent damage. Although a concussion is referred to as a minor brain injury, that should not fool you into a false sense of security. Any brain injury is a serious issue requiring absolute diligence.

Getting Compensation

When your child is injured in a car accident, suing someone may be the furthest thing from your mind. But that could be exactly what is needed to ensure that you do not shoulder the financial burden of your child’s medical costs. 

Together with your legal team, you may be able to collect compensation for:

  • Your child’s pain and suffering
  • Your emotional distress
  • Your child’s medical expenses and rehabilitation costs
  • Your lost income

Many parents are unaware that they may be able to recover compensation from the negligent driver for their own lost income. And that is important because you may have to take a lot of time off work to deal with your child’s doctor appointments and care for your child during their recovery. Because of this time away from work, you may struggle financially. However, it is important that you remember this is not your burden to bear. Covering these expenses should be the responsibility of the at-fault driver, the person who caused the car accident in which your child suffered a concussion.

You also need to move quickly to start your personal injury claim for damages against the negligent driver. You have limited time under the law to file a claim, so the sooner you speak with a lawyer, the sooner they can begin their investigation, collecting evidence, and filing your claim. If you miss this important filing deadline, your case could be barred, which means that you will not be able to collect any money from the driver who caused your child’s injuries.

How to Protect Your Child

Your child’s recovery is crucial to their ability to get back to their regular life. This also applies to you. But once your child has recovered, you may wonder if you should do anything differently the next time you are in a car together.

Protecting your child from further injury is crucial to their health and development. Make sure your child’s car seat is the right one for their age. Car seats come in many different sizes, based on a child’s age and weight. Make sure you are using the right one.

If your child is older, make sure you have the correct seat belt. Most car seat belts are designed to protect adults, not smaller children. Buy a specially designed child seat belt for your child when they are big enough to no longer ride in a car seat but are still not quite big enough to be properly secured by an adult seat belt.

Consider using a booster seat. Most booster seats put your child higher, which allows the adult seat belt to work more effectively and protect their body. Even if your child wants to be a grownup and no longer wants to use a booster seat, it is a good idea to insist on it, at least until they grow more. Keeping your child in a booster seat as long as possible can actually provide greater protection for their body if you get into another accident.

The position of a car seat or booster seat is also important. Children under two should be in car seats and facing the rear. This provides them with the most protection if you get into an accident. Children over two but under eight can face forward but should still be in a car seat. Children over eight should be in a front facing booster seat until they are big enough to be properly secured by an adult seat belt. These ages are general guidelines, however, and you should consult with your physician about the specific recommendations for your child, based on their size and weight.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Your Child Recover from Their Injuries

It can be very frightening if your child has a concussion or any injury to the head after a car accident. Your sole focus is on getting your child the medical attention they deserve. But you may also need to speak with a lawyer to hold the negligent party responsible for your child’s injuries. The Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can help you get the compensation you need to give your child the best medical care possible. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.