Change in Mental State after a Blow to the Head
If the inquiry does not identify a period of loss of consciousness (LOC), it may very well identify a change in mental state. A change in mental state might be something like being dazed or confused. Athletes typically refer to this as a ding, where after a play they try to shake the cobwebs off.
While not like the account of a teammate or athletic trainer, the ambulance reports may catch some documentation, especially if they include accident scene witnesses.
This is why it is important to interview the accident scene witnesses – ambulance attendants, police officers, passing motorists, even the driver of the other car.
A Change in Mental State Can Be Delayed
A change in mental state can also occur hours after the accident. Look for documentation that the patient was confused when they returned home. Were they just not themselves? Did they repeat the same question? Were they stumped by simple things like which knob on the stove to turn? These may all be signs of an undiagnosed brain injury. This happens all of the time. Accident victims may not even realize they have suffered trauma. How many times have you heard of an instance when the person involved in a car accident thinks they are perfectly fine and then days later suddenly realize that they may have been injured. Not only does this happen with physical injuries but with brain injury also.
Change in Mental State a Sign of Brain Injury
The injured individual may or may not be aware of these changes. If it becomes noticeable, you should direct the injured person to seek medical help immediately. It is quite possible that they may have sustained a head injury in the accident and not even realized it themselves. When it comes to medical treatment for brain injury, the sooner the better.