If you suspect a brain injury, it’s essential to receive immediate medical treatment. For example, if you hit your head in a motor vehicle accident, don’t treat yourself at home and assume that everything will be okay.

A concussion is one of the most common car accident injuries. Not only does it require medical treatment, but it has the potential to impact your life for many months (or even years) to come.

Upon presenting at a local hospital, your medical team will run a variety of tests to determine if you have a concussion. They’ll also use these tests to rule out a more serious brain injury, such as a skull fracture or bleeding on the brain.

Here are the steps you can expect your doctor to take:

  • Neurological exam: With this, your doctor will evaluate your hearing, vision, balance, reflexes, coordination and strength.
  • Cognitive testing: A concussion can result in a reduction of cognitive skills, so your doctor may test your concentration and memory.
  • Imaging tests: Even though your doctor may suspect a concussion before ordering imaging tests, these are necessary to get a detailed look at your brain and the surrounding area. Depending on your situation, your doctor may order one or more of the following: CT scan, MRI and X-ray.

Once you have a formal diagnosis, you’ll discuss your treatment strategy with your medical team. This often begins with an overnight stay in the hospital, as your doctor wants to ensure that your symptoms don’t worsen.

From there, treatment of a concussion typically entails plenty of mental and physical rest. You shouldn’t immediately return to your normal life, such as work or school, as doing so prematurely can cause your symptoms to return or worsen.

Any type of brain injury is serious, and a concussion is no different. If you have any reason to suspect this injury, seek medical treatment and then follow the orders of your medical team.

As your health allows, revisit the accident, file an insurance claim and consider every step you can take to receive compensation for all your injuries and associated damages, such as medical bills.