Right after a car crash, you are probably going to feel confused, frightened and possibly frustrated about the disruption to your day. It can be hard to think about the implications of an accident right after it happens, which is why it’s good to have rules in place for what you should do after a car crash.

You probably already know that you need to call for law enforcement to write up a report, advise your insurance company of the crash and seek medical evaluation if you have noticeable injuries. What you might not know is that some of the worst injuries you can suffer in a car crash might not be obvious right there at the scene of the accident.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often don’t show symptoms right after they occur, which means they having a familiarity with some of the more concerning symptoms can help you identify a brain injury if you start to show symptoms a few days after a motor vehicle collision occurs.

Confusion, foggy thoughts and memory issues are all warning signs

There’s a reason that bumps on the head are stereotypically associated with loss of memory or amnesia. Swelling or bleeding of the brain can easily impact memory retention, formation and recall.

If you have a hard time focusing, if remembering things from long ago or that recently happened becomes difficult or if you find yourself feeling confused in situations that would not have confused previously, that could be a warning that you have a TBI.

Ongoing or worsening headaches require medical attention

It’s common for people to have a headache shortly after a car crash because of the trauma involved. If your headache persists for more than a day or if it gets worse instead of better as time goes on, those could be warning signs that your simple headache is actually a concussion or brain injury.

Anyone who loses consciousness should receive a medical examination

If someone passes out or loses consciousness after a car crash, even if they are only unconscious for a few brief seconds, that is a major warning sign for a potential brain injury. Having a physician evaluate you if you passed out during a crash should be a top priority after the collision.

Other signs that people should watch out for include changes in sleeping patterns, sensory symptoms like blurred vision, ringing ears or even slurred speech. Changes in mood, personality and behavior can also occur. Anyone who notices these signs after a car crash should seek medical evaluation to determine if they have a brain injury and to get treatment started as soon as possible if they do.