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Paul Powell - Is it Legal to Drive with a Concussion?

Driving with a Concussion: Is it Legally Allowed?

If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion, you may be wondering about whether driving with a concussion is legally allowed. The answer is often unclear, though better safe than sorry is a good rule to follow. A shocking statistic reported on National Public Radio is that one in five teens say they have been diagnosed with at least one concussion. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, six percent of teens have suffered multiple concussion incidents.

What Is A Concussion?

A concussion occurs when you receive a blow to the head and your brain, which is made of soft tissue, gets jolted by the impact. The brain is suspended in protective spinal fluid, but a hard enough knock can cause it to bounce off the skull internally, causing bruising together with damage to blood vessels and nerves.

Symptoms Of A Concussion

Though a concussion can result in loss of consciousness or ‘passing out’ as it is known, many do not. You can even have a concussion without realizing it. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Passing out
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed processing speed
  • Excessive tiredness

When you are concussed your brain is not functioning correctly, and many critical abilities needed for driving, like clear vision and balance, can be affected.

When Can You Return To The Road After A Concussion?

Obviously in the moments immediately after a severe blow to the head you physically cannot drive because you are likely unconscious and unaware of your surroundings. This can pass quickly, and you may think you are back to normal and able to operate a vehicle. Caution is advised, however, as published studies recommend that patients with concussions avoid driving for at least 24 hours.

The answer to this question is ambiguous because it’s not very easy to evaluate concussions or their impact on your ability to function. If you have suffered a blow that could lead to a concussion, and you drive shortly after that, you run the risk of harming yourself and others. You may potentially find yourself in legal trouble if something bad happens.

These concerns become especially serious if you depend on your ability to drive for your livelihood, or have others who depend on you for their transportation. You may wish to seek advice on the liability you face when driving concussed and the potential responsibility of other parties towards you if they caused your concussion in the first place.

Need Legal Help?

If you are concerned about concussion-related liability, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Powell Law Firm to help you answer any questions you may have regarding your legal standing after the injury.

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