Many injuries caused by car accidents, particularly those involving the brain, are not always immediately apparent. Some, such as an intracranial hematoma, or brain bleed, may not show until weeks after the incident.
The Mayo Clinic notes that during the lucid interval, or the time between the accident and when symptoms begin to show, a victim may show little to no signs of pain or unusual behavior. However, as the bleeding starts to put pressure on the brain, several symptoms may appear that indicate the victim requires urgent medical help.
1. Slurred speech
As a brain bleed gets progressively worse, an affected individual may lose his or her ability to speak clearly. Slurred or garbled speech may worsen once it begins, although the individual may not realize it as he or she attempts to communicate as the brain bleed worsens.
An intracranial hematoma can affect a victim’s balance and cause dizziness or feelings of vertigo. He or she may begin to misstep or stumble. The dizziness may worsen as time goes on.
3. Drowsiness or lethargy
If a brain bleed goes undetected, the affected individual may become increasingly sleepy or lethargic. he or she may find it difficult to focus and the urge to sleep may increase. Eventually, the victim may lose consciousness and fail to respond to attempts to rouse them. At this stage, immediate medical intervention is usually necessary.
Symptoms of an intracranial hematoma can also include vomiting and a persistent headache. While an injured person may not experience all of these symptoms, each may worsen as the brain bleed increases.