Many patients are very confused following a motor vehicle accident. Many family doctors offices refused to see the patient, because it requires that you use your automobile insurance company insurance information in lieu of your healthcare information. The automobile insurance companies require a detailed report as to the history of the accident and a detailed examination of which many family doctors do not have the time to perform.

In Pennsylvania, we are in a no fault state which means your own automobile insurance company covers the claim regardless of who is at fault. The reason these laws are in place is to protect you. If another vehicle struck you, that person's insurance company can deny that it is their fault and medical bills would accumulate until you went to court to fight for your coverage. This may take years to resolve. To avoid any confusion the Pennsylvania law allows you to treat while your insurance company pays for the medical bills.

Since the Covid epidemic patients typically avoid the emergency room for fear of catching Covid. This is why is extremely important following an accident if you have any symptoms, you must be seen by healthcare provider as soon as possible.

A detailed report by your treating doctor will require a detailed history of the accident and a comprehensive review of all of your injuries. Patients’ thing that pain is associated with an injury. This may not always be the case. In lieu of pain, one may experience weakness, difficulty moving your spine or joints with in your arms and legs, a feeling that your legs give out or for your arms you drop things. You may not even notice that one hand or one leg has numbness compared to the other hand or leg. Vision, hearing, taste, smell, comprehension, balance, anger issues, anxiety, depression, short-term or long-term memory are just some of the symptoms one can experience that is not associated with pain. Many times people can have black and blue marks and not even aware that they struck that body part against an object within the car. This is why it is very important that following a motor vehicle accident you seek appropriate health care specialist that deals with these types of injuries. Failure to document all the areas of injury can later affect your ability to have insurance coverage for that area which may include procedures such as injections and or surgeries. This is why it is extremely important that you seek a healthcare professional who will take the time to go through all your symptoms and do a thorough examination by looking at the body parts, performing motion movements of those areas, and special testing such as orthopedic neurological testing.

Vitals are important. Patients coming to our office can expect height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, pulse oxidation (which is a measure of your blood oxygen level), respiration rate, and temperature. The simple test are very important and can identify serious problems that have not been identified by how you feel and what you feel.

Past medical records are also extremely important for a number of reasons including any treatment in our facility that can be detrimental to prior healthcare issues. It is extremely important when we communicate to other medical specialist that they are aware of any healthcare issues that can affect medication, injections and/or surgeries. Many times chronic conditions such as diabetes and the blood sugar levels could get worse following an injury. This is why we communicate with the family doctors and informed him of any findings from examination, and any test results or conclusions from medical specialist we referred you to.

You do not need to strike your head in order to get a concussion. Under the Worker's Compensation tab in this website will clearly explained concussion symptoms. A concussion in Latin means violently shaken. In an accident people can be thrown side to side or forward and backwards in which their head generates a great deal of force whether they strike an object in the car or another person or not.

Your skull is hard and your brain is very soft. There are meninges that exist holding your brain to your skull. When experiencing such force there is a chance that you can tear the meninges causing:

  1. Subarachnoid hemorrhage (much worse) The subarachnoid hemorrhage is rare and symptoms can often mimic that of a posttraumatic headache or a subdural hematoma. Symptoms involving a subarachnoid hemorrhage could involve loss of sensation and/or motor problems, seizure, ptosis (your eyelid is droopy), difficulty speaking, headaches, dizziness, eye pain, double vision or vision loss.
  2. Subdural hematoma where there is bleeding under the dura (the tissue covering the brain). The patient presents with slurred speech or confused, problems with balancing especially when walking, headaches, confusion, fatigue, seizures, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, weakness or numbness especially to the extremities or the trigeminal nerve (fascial numbness), and vision problems.
  3. Concussion/traumatic brain injury: Symptoms of a concussion include headache or pressure in your head, may include temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, difficulty counting money, feeling as if you are in a fog, loss of short-term memory (for example cannot find where your keys are), loss of long-term memory (for example forget the name of a loved one), ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, difficulty comprehending questions, speech is slurred, days, blurred vision or double vision and fatigue.

As you can see from above many of the symptoms the patient could experience overlap between a subarachnoid, subdural and concussion symptoms. This is why if you feel any of the above complaints you must follow-up with a healthcare provider immediately.

When you are in an accident usually multiple areas of the body are involved. Sometimes your days from the accident and in shock. It may take several days before you start to experience all the areas that you injured. In fact, it may take days to weeks before you start to experience weakness, numbness, pins-and-needles, shooting pain or sharp pain that travels from your neck down to your hands and fingers or from your lower back down your legs to your toes and ankle. Look for clues such as does your legs give out when going up or down the steps or with taking walks. A clue for the hands would be dropping a coffee cup or glass of water out of your hands. Noticing numbness comparing both hands or both legs at the same time to one of your extremities.

I also recommend that when taking a shower over the next few days look in the mirror to see if you see any bruising that can give us a clue as to areas you may have damaged. Such an example would be a classic seatbelt injury where the patient could have a black and blue mark over the front of his chest or shoulder, the mid part of the chest or across the lower abdomen area. You may also develop bruising to your elbows, arms, shoulders, hip, thighs, knees and ankles as you may have struck things within the car that you were not aware of.
The airbag is meant to protect you from greater injuries but there are times that the airbag can cause its own injuries usually burns. The patient below sustained burns from a below dash airbag found in luxury cars.

Facts about motor vehicle accidents

According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes or leading causes of death among those aged 1-54 in the US.

Did you know that the seatbelt is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries and crashes. He had according to the CDC millions do not buckle up on every trip.

According to the CDC, every day about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. I distracted driver's driving while doing another activity (i.e. using their cell phone/texting while driving. Traveling at 55 mph, sending or reading a text is like driving the length of a focal field with your eyes closed.

  • 2800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 people injured in crashes involving distract drivers in the US in 2018.

According to the driver

  • Around 2 million dry recent car accidents experience permanent injuries every year
  • 1 and 7 people do not wear seatbelts while drive which increases the risk of death by 45%.
  • Just by wearing the seatbelt cuts the risk of serious injuries by 50%
  • People not wearing seatbelts are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle during a crash.

According to the Center for Disease Control 165 MR consist each day from a traumatic brain injury.

The cause for her traumatic brain injuries include the following:

  • A bump, blow or jolt to the head
  • A penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain

TBI is the major cause of death and disability in the America contributing to about 30% of all injury deaths. Those who survived a TBI can face effects lasting a few days to disabilities that last the rest of their lives.

People suffering from TBI can have symptoms that include:

  • Memory loss (short-term and or long-term), difficulty with concentration, trouble counting money, trouble adding numbers, or having difficulty putting words together.
  • Loss of balance or coordination.
  • Affecting your ability to feel with your hands, hold onto objects, no the position of your hands or feet, vision (blurred vision, double vision, peripheral vision is lost, difficulty reading or focusing on things further away), hearing, or loss of sensation to your face (the trigeminal nerve your forehead, cheek and chin), loss of smell or taste especially in certain foods.
  • Emotional changes such as anger issues, feeling depressed, anxious, having trouble falling asleep or awakening throughout the night.
  • Headaches, ringing in the ears, nauseousness, or vomiting

The leading cause of nonfatal traumatic brain injury/concussion can occur from:

  • Falls
  • A blow to the head or body
  • Motor vehicle accident (children and young adults this is the leading cause for traumatic brain injury/concussion related to deaths).

Preventing traumatic brain injuries in a motor vehicle accident the following are recommended:

  • Always wear your seatbelt and make sure your passengers are also buckled up.
  • Should be in age and size appropriate car seats, booster seats and/or seatbelts.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs increases your risk for accidents.

Mild traumatic brain injuries/concussions are considered serious as discussed by the CDC. Healthcare providers may describe these injuries as mild because they are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion can be serious.

If you suspect that you are suffering from a concussion/mild traumatic brain injury you should make your appointment immediately with us so we can evaluate you. Upon evaluation, we will conduct neurocognitive test to determine whether we should refer you onto a concussion specialist.

Repeated mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions may lead to a longer recovery, more severe symptoms and have longer lasting problems such as concentration, memory, headache and physical problems such as balance.