Headaches After a Car Accident


If another driver’s negligence leaves you with lingering post-accident headaches, it’s time to consult with a dedicated California car accident attorney.

The impact of a car accident can lead to a range of serious injuries that are utterly evident from the outset. Some very serious injuries, however, reveal themselves slowly, and your surging adrenaline, along with the shock you experience in the aftermath of a violent car accident, can further mask your symptoms. A prime example of a sign that you may have been more seriously injured than you realize and that you should seek immediate medical attention is a post-accident headache. Another important step to take in support of your recovery and your legal rights is reaching out for the professional legal guidance of an experienced California car accident attorney as soon as you can possibly do so.

Concussions and Other Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Mayo Clinic specifically states that headaches are a common physical symptom of concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) goes on to share very sobering information about TBIs, including all the following:

  • In a recent year, approximately 176 people in this country died from some form of TBI each day.
  • In a recent year, more than 223,000 people were hospitalized for TBIs.
  • TBIs are generally caused by a blow or jolt to the head, such as those that are often experienced in car accidents
  • TBIs are caused by the brain jostling back and forth within the skull and can lead to chemical changes in the brain and to stretched and damaged brain cells, which can directly affect how victims feel, act, learn, and sleep.
  • Even a mild form of concussion can lead to very serious consequences and should warrant medical attention.
  • More serious TBIs are closely associated with long-term, life-altering effects that can prove fatal.
  • A primary cause of TBIs in this country is car accidents.
  • The five-year outcome report for TBIs that require inpatient rehabilitation includes that 26 percent see improvement, 22 percent stay the same, 30 percent worsen, and 22 percent die.

If a car accident leaves you with a headache, seek immediate medical attention.

Additional Causes

Headaches can be caused by a wide range of injuries in addition to TBIs.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc refers to a cut or tear in one of the rubbery discs or cushions that sit between the vertebrae that build your spine. When some of the internal gel pushes through the cut or tear, it’s called a herniated disc, a ruptured disc, or a slipped disc. While herniated discs often occur in the lower spine, those that happen farther up the spine can lead to headaches. These injuries are closely associated with intense pain and serious losses in relation to the range of motion.

A Pinched Nerve at the Base of the Spine

A pinched nerve is the result of the surrounding bones, tendons, cartilage, or muscles putting too much pressure on a nerve. The effects can include tingling, weakness, numbness, and headaches.

Muscle Injuries in the Neck or Upper Back

Muscle injuries, such as sprains, strains, and spasms, tend to be exceptionally painful and slow to heal – and they can also seriously impede the range of motion. Muscle injuries in the neck or upper back often lead to headaches.

Spine Fractures

Brain edema, which is also known as brain swelling, causes an expansion of brain volume and plays a critical role in post-TBI morbidity and mortality rates. As the fluid caused by edema increases, so too does the pressure inside the skull, which can reduce blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Brain edema can cause irreversible brain damage and, when left untreated, can prove fatal.

Types of Headaches

Headaches can take many serious forms, including the following:

  • musculoskeletal headaches, which are the most common type of headache, are often called tension headaches and are often accompanied by muscle aches and pains
  • post-concussive headaches, which tend to be tension-related headaches that are caused by injuries to the neck
  • constant daily headaches or chronic daily headaches, which can be disabling and are one of the most difficult kinds of headaches to conquer
  • migraine headaches, which can lead to severe throbbing or pulsing pain that is typically concentrated on one side of the head and can be accompanied by nausea and extreme sensitivity to sound and light
  • cluster headaches, which typically occur in a cyclical pattern that is referred to as a cluster period and that often include severe pain surrounding one eye or encompassing one side of the head
  • whiplash or coup-contrecoup brain injuries, which are closely related to concussions

Symptoms to Be on the Lookout For

Some of the primary physical symptoms you should be on the lookout for in relation to headaches after a car accident include:

  • a dull ache in your head that lingers
  • tenderness along your scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles
  • a tight sensation or feeling of pressure across your forehead or down the sides and back of your head
  • light-headedness
  • dizziness

Muscle pain is common to many kinds of headaches that are precipitated by car accidents. Occasionally, appetite loss and nausea also accompany headaches that are caused by the impact of car accidents.

The Timing of Your Headache

It is very important to note that a headache brought on by a car accident will not necessarily show up immediately after the accident. In fact, it can take days for a headache to make an appearance, but it’s important to correlate the pain with the accident itself – rather than to chalk it up to post-accident stress or to anything else. Having a headache anytime from immediately after a car accident to several days after a car accident means that it’s time to seek medical attention. The risk of being seriously injured is too great to ignore.

Take Action

If a car accident leaves you with a headache, there are certain steps you should take to protect both your health and your claim:

  • Seek immediate medical attention. A headache can be a symptom of a serious health concern, and you should not take a wait-and-see approach.
  • Discuss your headache with your doctor to ensure that it’s included in your medical records. You may need to demonstrate a clear path from the car accident to your headache and any related injuries or health concerns.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice and instructions carefully.
  • Discuss your case with a seasoned car accident attorney as soon after seeking medical attention as possible.
  • Leave the car insurance company handling your claim to your trusted car accident attorney. The insurance rep will be very interested in obtaining a statement from you that they later interpret through the lens of their own best interests. It’s a good idea to stay off social media while your claim is pending for the same reason.
  • Never accept a settlement offer until you’ve carefully discussed the matter with a car accident attorney who has specific knowledge about your complete losses and the strength of your claim.

Seeking Just Compensation for Your Losses

The physical, financial, and emotional losses you experience as a result of a car accident injury that leads to headaches can be immense, and ensuring that they are well represented in your car accident claim can play a primary role in your recovery.

Medical Expenses

Diagnosing injuries related to headaches is often costly and time-consuming. Diagnostic tools tend to include expensive scans, and treatments can range from surgery, prescription medications, pain management, physical therapy, and well beyond.

Lost Wages

A long-lasting, recurring, or serious headache can keep you off the job for a considerable amount of time and can even interfere with your ability to do your job. If your earning potential is affected or your career trajectory is altered, the financial losses will be that much more considerable – emotional consequences are also common.

Pain and Suffering

It is difficult to overstate the physical and emotional pain and suffering you can experience as a result of a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, and that leaves you with a headache. Headaches can interfere with your sense of self, the pleasure you take in life, your appetite, your relationships, your ability to concentrate, your ability to complete tasks, and far more. The pain and suffering you experience can amplify your financial losses and can make reaching your fullest recovery much more difficult.

How a Savvy Car Accident Attorney Can Help

The most important step you can take in support of your complete recovery – after seeking the medical attention that you need – is working closely with a practiced car accident attorney who will capably take on a range of primary tasks.

Evidence Gathering

Evidence will play a critical role in your car accident claim and can include all the following:

  • eyewitness testimony
  • physical evidence gathered at the scene of the car accident
  • videos and photos taken at the accident scene, including dash cam footage
  • expert testimony
  • models that reflect the circumstances of the accident
  • your full suite of medical records
  • your testimony regarding the trajectory of your headaches and health complications

Keeping a daily record of the headaches you experience and the effects they have on your life is an excellent way to help clearly demonstrate the outsized role your injuries are playing in your life.

Building Your Strongest Claim

Your accomplished car accident attorney will take all the raw information and evidence gathered and will craft it into your strongest claim. When a car accident victim suffers headaches, it’s essential that the headaches are tied to the car accident in question and that the full range of related losses is well accounted for. This nuanced work is best left in the capable hands of your car accident attorney.

Skillfully Negotiating with the Car Insurance Company

Your attorney will engage in skilled negotiations with the at-fault driver’s car insurance provider for fair terms that cover your losses in their entirety, which generally involves considerable back and forth until a mutually acceptable settlement can be reached. In the process, your attorney will ensure that your questions are answered and that you are well-prepared to make the right decisions for you along the way.

Being Well-Prepared for Court

There are a few things it is important to keep in mind about the insurance company that is handling your claim, including:

  • They are paid to cover your losses, but they are a for-profit enterprise.
  • They are motivated to keep your settlement low and their profits high.
  • They may prefer to play chicken with your claim, which means seeing if your attorney is actually prepared to take the matter to court rather than actively engaging in good-faith settlement negotiations.

If your attorney reaches the conclusion that the insurance company is not interested in negotiating fairly, they will likely advise you to move forward by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Further, your attorney will be well prepared to do so. Often, the act of filing a lawsuit motivates the insurance company to dig deeper in relation to negotiations, but even if it isn’t the case, your attorney will not hesitate to launch your strongest case in front of the court.

Turn to an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney for the Help You Need

The formidable car accident attorneys at Blair & Ramirez LLP in Los Angeles have a wealth of experience handling challenging cases that involve injuries related to headaches, and we’re committed to fiercely advocating for terms that support your most complete recovery and best interests. Our imposing legal team is well prepared to help guide your claim toward a favorable resolution, and we look forward to working with you. We offer a free case evaluator to help you gain a fuller understanding of your case and the losses you’ve experienced, and we encourage you to do some exploring before reaching out and contacting or calling us at 213-568-4000 for more information today.