If you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a crash – even a concussion – you need to make sure that you are sufficiently healed before you go back to work, school, sports or driving.
That last one often isn’t as widely discussed as the others. However, it’s crucial that you don’t get behind the wheel again before you’re ready. Every TBI, and even every concussion, is different and affects people differently. Typically, concussions require a minimum of two days without driving. A serious brain injury can mean staying out of the driver’s seat for months.
You should have your doctor re-evaluate you before you pick up the keys. You also need to trust your own instincts if they tell you you’re not ready even if your doctor gives you the all-clear.
How a TBI can affect your brain and body
A TBI can have a multitude of effects on a person. These include:
- Physical effects, like weakness, dizziness, spasticity and headaches
- Cognitive effects, including memory loss, difficulty multitasking and a lack of concentration
- Visual effects, such as blurred vision, lack of depth perception and loss of peripheral vision
Some TBI sufferers also suffer emotional and mental issues. This can lead to a lack of patience, quickness to anger and other problems. It’s also not uncommon for people involved in collisions to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Get the care you need before getting behind the wheel
Most of these problems resolve in time with treatment and therapy. It may also be wise to take refresher driving lessons when you feel ready to drive again. Even if your crash was fully another driver’s fault, having a driving teacher by your side for a while can help you regain confidence. At the very least, you shouldn’t drive unaccompanied at first.
You never know exactly what will be required to heal and resume your normal life (or as normal as possible) after a crash. It could involve extensive medical treatment, physical or occupational therapy or seeing a mental health professional. That’s why you should never accept a settlement until you know the full extent of your expenses and damages. Having legal guidance can help you maximize your settlement.