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What Happens if a Concussion Is Untreated?

September 12, 2023Personal Injury

Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions can be caused by impacts to the head or skull, such as a blow, jolt or blunt-force trauma. Even if a concussion is classified as a mild brain injury, it could still result in significant symptoms and health problems for the victim. Unfortunately, many concussions are left unreported and untreated – putting the victim at risk in multiple ways.

Further Damage and a Longer Recovery Time

Most concussions heal completely in approximately two weeks. However, healing from a concussion requires the proper amount of rest during the recovery period. The brain needs rest so that it can repair the cells and tissues that were damaged from the injury. If a victim is not diagnosed with a concussion, he or she may not take the proper steps toward recovery.

Failing to treat the injury could lead to worsened or longer-lasting symptoms, which may include headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light or noise, and mood swings. In some cases, a victim may experience post-concussion syndrome, which is when the symptoms of a concussion continue much longer than the average time – for some patients, months or even years after suffering the head injury.

Long-Term Brain Damage

Some concussions are severe and require professional medical care. If a concussion is accompanied by bleeding or swelling of the brain, for example, surgery may be required to alleviate pressure inside of the skull. If the brain injury is left untreated, the victim could suffer more severe brain damage and long-term health complications. Permanent brain damage may occur, for example, along with symptoms such as motor function disability and cognitive impairment.

Second-Impact Syndrome

Another risk of leaving a concussion untreated is that the victim may not know he or she has a brain injury. This increases the risk of second-impact syndrome or repetitive head injury syndrome: a serious medical condition in which a second or subsequent brain injury occurs before the victim has recovered entirely from the first injury. The most high-risk individuals for second-impact syndrome are athletes who play contact sports, such as football players.

Suffering a second concussion before the first has healed can put a patient at risk of permanent brain damage and even death. Although second-impact syndrome is a rare condition, it is more likely if the victim’s first concussion never gets diagnosed or receives medical attention. Awareness of the traumatic brain injury is critical so that the victim can rest, relax and avoid further head injuries.

How Can Delaying Medical Care Affect a Brain Injury Claim?

While your physical health and wellness are most important, leaving a concussion untreated can also negatively affect your ability to recover fair financial compensation for your brain injury. For example, if you attempt to file a brain injury claim, an insurance company may blame you for the extent of your symptoms if you were not seen by a medical professional or did not receive treatment right away. Our Denver brain injury lawyers are equipped to handle these cases.

It is critical to take any type of head injury seriously after an accident in Colorado. If you hit your head in a car crash or slip and fall, for example, see a doctor immediately. If you have a concussion, the injury needs to be diagnosed promptly so that you can get the proper treatment or amount of rest. Leaving a concussion untreated can interfere with your brain’s ability to heal as well as hurt your chances of qualifying for financial compensation from an insurance claim.