The Four Tests a Doctor May Use to Check for a Brain Injury After a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident, you do not have to hit your head directly to suffer a brain injury. In some cases, simply stopping hard enough can cause your brain injury. If the doctor suspects that you have suffered a direct impact or indirect impact on your brain, they may use one or more of the following four tests to assess the situation.
Obvious Signs of Brain Injuries Are Not Always Immediately Present
It is important to visit the doctor for help after a car accident because in some cases, it can take days or even more for symptoms to become clear. It is common for a person who suffers a brain injury to remain conscious. They may feel dazed or “out of it” and assume that this is nothing more than a normal reaction to the accident. It could be nothing more than that, but it could also be life-threatening. It is worth a visit to the doctor.
- Neurological Exam If a doctor suspects that a person has suffered a concussion, they will start with a neurological exam. This involves asking questions about the symptoms the person is experiencing, along with simple tests to determine if vision, balance, speech, coordination, or reflexes have been affected.
- Cognitive Tests The doctor will then test your cognition, i.e., your ability to think straight. This might include a memory test or a request for you to follow simple directions and perform simple tasks. A common example is for a doctor to ask their patient to give them the names of ten words that start with a specific letter.
- CT Scans Short for computed tomography, CT scans are similar to x-rays in some ways. You lie in a table and your head goes into the scanner. The machine works by taking images of your brain and your skull. Your doctor can then review these images to determine if there is swelling and/or bleeding in the brain.
- MRI Short for magnetic resonance imaging, MRIs use radio waves and magnets to give doctors detailed three-dimensional pictures of the brain. The MRI can work better than the CT at showing smaller areas of damage. For example, a potentially deadly blood clot in the brain may only be picked up on an MRI.
Note that none of these four tests can confirm with 100% certainty that a concussion has occurred. This is because a concussion actually refers to a series of symptoms a person experiences. However, when your doctor uses these tests, they can determine if further medical care is necessary.
If you are involved in an accident in which someone else is at fault, you have a right to legal representation. Contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 now for a free legal consultation.