Can A Car Accident Cause A Stroke?

Can A Car Accident Cause A Stroke?

When you have been in a car accident, your stress level increases exponentially. You are assessing yourself for injuries, worried about the damage to your vehicle, and if there were passengers in your car, concerned about their safety and well-being. You know to look for obvious injuries, such as cuts, broken bones, whiplash, and sprains or strains. You also realize that internal bleeding could occur as a result of unseen injuries. What about other injuries, though? Can a car accident cause a stroke? Should you be concerned about a stroke after a car accident? What happens if you do have a stroke after a car accident? While your first step should be seeing a medical professional, your next step may be speaking with a personal injury attorney once the emergency has passed. The experienced Pascagoula, Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Lott Law may be able to assist you if you need to file a lawsuit or negotiate with an insurance company after a car accident. Call (228) 215-2787 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and review your case options. 

Stroke Types

While people often refer to having “a stroke,” Johns Hopkins Medicine identifies two main types of strokes with additional subtypes. Understanding the different types of strokes can be important in determining the causes and whether they may be related to a car accident. 

Ischemic Stroke

Ischemic strokes are ones caused by a blockage or clot in the brain. Most of these strokes are related to other health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or heart disease. Ischemic strokes are further broken down into two subtypes, embolic and thrombotic. Thrombotic strokes are caused by a blood clot that forms deep in the brain. Thrombotic strokes can be preceded by several “mini-strokes” called transient ischemic attacks (TIA) caused by temporary clots.

Embolic strokes are caused by plaque debris or a blood clot that has formed elsewhere in the body, dislodged, and traveled to the brain. Embolic strokes can happen suddenly and without warning. 

Hemorrhagic Stroke 

Hemorrhagic strokes are the result of a ruptured blood vessel that causes bleeding into the brain. This bleeding restricts oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The bleeding also causes pressure and swelling that can lead to further brain damage. Hemorrhagic strokes can be further broken down into intracerebral hemorrhages and subarachnoid hemorrhages.

Intracerebral hemorrhages occur when the bleeding is from blood vessels inside the brain. Subarachnoid hemorrhages occur when the bleeding takes place in the subarachnoid space, which is the space between the brain and the brain’s membrane covering. 

Additional Types of Strokes

There are also lacunar infarcts, a stroke that occurs in the brain’s small blood vessels. This type of stroke is often seen in people with diabetes or high blood pressure. 

Recurrent strokes are, as the name implies, strokes someone has after their first stroke. These strokes occur in approximately 25% of people within five years of their first stroke. They are at the most significant risk of a recurrent stroke immediately after a stroke, decreasing over time. Approximately 3% of people who have one stroke have a second stroke within 30 days, and one-third will have a second stroke within two years. 

Can a Car Accident Cause a Stroke?

Can a car accident cause a stroke? An immediate stroke at the scene of a car accident is unlikely unless the individual already had a blockage, clot, or weakened blood vessel that was on the verge of rupturing. Most strokes are related to underlying conditions like heart disease, congenital disorders, or high blood pressure. If an individual has one of these underlying conditions, it is possible that an injury from the car accident could cause a clot, blockage, or weakened blood vessel that causes the person to have a stroke. 

Car accidents often result in head or neck injuries like concussions, whiplash, or traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Even in otherwise healthy individuals, these head and neck injuries, as well as other injuries throughout the body, have the potential to cause clots that travel to the brain and cause a stroke. A TBI could include bleeding on the brain which causes a hemorrhagic stroke. Blood vessels in the head or neck could be weakened by these injuries and rupture. If any of these injuries restrict oxygen to the brain, this could also cause a stroke. Victims should always seek medical attention, especially since there can be delayed car accident symptoms that appear in the hours and days after the accident. 

How Soon After a Car Accident Could a Stroke Happen?

Research done by Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) found that adults aged 65 and older were at greater risk of a stroke for up to six months after being involved in a car accident. This study looked at how many individuals were rehospitalized due to a stroke after a car accident. Therefore, even for younger individuals, it is important that those who were in a car accident within a few months before having a stroke speak with a medical professional and an attorney to determine whether their stroke could have been caused by the car accident and the injuries they sustained. 

While strokes can occur after quite some time has passed from the car accident, victims should also be mindful of the statute of limitations. Mississippi Code § 15-1-49 gives victims three years from the date the injury occurred or the date the victim discovered or should have discovered the injury. If you believe your stroke may be related to a car accident you were involved in, you may want to speak with a skilled car accident attorney with Lott Law to learn about your options before the statute of limitations expires and you are unable to file your compensation claim. 

Signs of a Stroke

Recognizing the signs of a stroke allows for quicker intervention, which improves the individual’s chances of a full recovery without lingering side effects or brain damage. Individuals who have been in a car accident, and their loved ones, should be watchful for indications that the accident victim is having a stroke. These symptoms can include: 

  • Confusion
  • Seeing double
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Losing balance
  • Stumbling
  • Loss of coordination
  • Sudden, severe headaches
  • Black or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Struggling to understand other’s speech
  • Paralyzed face, arm, or leg, typically on only one side

Potential Effects of a Stroke

After a stroke, even with emergency treatment, the individual may have lingering side effects. These side effects can make life extremely difficult for the individual, if not change their life completely. These side effects may include temporary or permanent paralysis, loss of muscle movement, language difficulties, memory loss, poor judgment, and difficulty controlling emotions. Pain, numbness, depression, being withdrawn, unable to care for themselves, and trouble swallowing, talking, thinking, and reasoning may also occur after a stroke. 

Why Does Linking Your Stroke to Your Car Accident Matter?

Individuals may wonder why being able to link their stroke to a car accident matters. Particularly if they know they have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, they may believe that their stroke happening after the accident is merely a coincidence. However, even with a pre-existing condition, it may be possible to prove that the car accident caused injuries that were responsible for the stroke. Without those injuries, the individual would likely not have had that stroke. 

If it can be shown that the car accident injuries were responsible for the stroke, the individual may be able to recover damages for all the related medical bills and other expenses they have incurred as part of their car accident damages. They can also include the side effects from the stroke in those damages, receiving compensation for things like pain and suffering, current and future care costs, medical equipment, home improvements such as wheelchair ramps or grab bars in a bathroom, or in-home care for life if needed. 

How a Mississippi Personal Injury Attorney Can Assist You

Can a car accident cause a stroke? Yes, it is possible to have a stroke as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. If you were in a car accident and had a stroke in the days, weeks, or months afterward, you may want to consult with an attorney to find out if your stroke was related to the car accident and how you may be able to recover damages for your stroke. Call (228) 215-2787 to speak to one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Lott Law and learn more about your legal options.