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Ear Injuries and Ear Pain After a Car Accident

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Ear pain after a car accident is a symptom that should never be ignored. While many people focus on more visible injuries like broken bones or lacerations, ear pain can indicate underlying issues that may have long-term consequences.

If you’ve experienced ear pain after a car accident, seeking medical and legal advice is crucial to ensure you receive the care and financial compensation you deserve. Our car accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you build a strong case and file a claim against the at-fault party who caused your injuries and get you a settlement that covers all accident-related expenses.

Types of Ear Injuries Common in Car Accidents

Car accidents can result in a variety of injuries, including damage to the inner or outer ear. The force of impact, airbag deployment, or loud noises can cause the following ear injuries:

  • Abrasions and contusions. These are superficial injuries affecting the outer ear. Abrasions are scrapes that can result from the ear rubbing against surfaces during the impact, while contusions are bruises that may form due to blunt force trauma to the ear.
  • Lacerations. These are cuts or tears in the skin of the outer ear. In a car accident, these can occur due to broken glass, metal fragments, or other sharp objects coming into contact with the ear. Deep lacerations might damage underlying cartilage or even lead to partial ear amputation.
  • Hematoma. This injury involves the collection of blood between the skin and the cartilage of the outer ear, often resulting from blunt trauma. If not treated promptly, a hematoma can lead to complications like cauliflower ear, where the ear becomes permanently deformed.
  • Perforated eardrum. The eardrum, or tympanic membrane, can rupture or tear due to pressure changes or direct trauma during an auto accident. Symptoms might include pain, hearing loss, and discharge. Perforations can lead to chronic problems if untreated.
  • Inner ear damage. The delicate structures within the inner ear, such as the cochlea or semicircular canals, can be damaged due to trauma or rapid pressure changes. This can result in dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and hearing loss.
  • Acoustic trauma. This injury is caused by exposure to a sudden and loud noise, like an airbag deployment. The loud noise can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss due to damage to the inner ear structures.
  • Dislocation of the ossicles. The ossicles are tiny bones in the middle ear that help transmit sound. A powerful impact can dislocate these bones, leading to hearing difficulties. Medical intervention is typically required to address this issue.
  • Temporal bone fracture. The temporal bone houses parts of the ear. A fracture in this region, resulting from a severe impact, can cause complications ranging from facial nerve damage to cerebrospinal fluid leakage. This can indicate a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) otorrhea. This is the leakage of clear, watery cerebrospinal fluid from the ear. It can occur when the base of the skull is fractured, allowing brain fluid to flow out of the ear canal. This type of injury strongly indicates brain trauma and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Hemotympanum. This refers to blood behind the eardrum in the middle ear space. A skull fracture near the base or severe head trauma can cause it. While blood in the middle ear doesn’t always indicate brain injury, it’s a sign of significant trauma, such as a severe TBI.

Why You Should Seek Medical Care for Ear Pain After a Car Accident

Ear pain after a car accident may seem minor compared to other injuries, like a head injury or whiplash, but it can be a sign of more serious underlying problems. Ignoring this symptom can lead to long-term complications and a severe impact on your quality of life:

  • Risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Ear pain can indicate a serious TBI caused by a skull fracture. TBIs can result in cognitive dysfunction, memory problems, and altered consciousness might arise immediately, with potential long-term persistent cognitive issues, mood disorders, and reduced quality of life.
  • Potential for permanent hearing loss. Untreated injuries, like a ruptured eardrum or damaged inner ear structures, can result in long-term or permanent hearing impairment. This could immediately make communication difficult and reduce awareness of surroundings, leading to potential social isolation and challenges in work environments.
  • Possible inner ear damage. The inner ear contains structures responsible for both hearing and balance. Damage can lead to symptoms like vertigo, tinnitus, and dizziness immediately. If untreated, it might result in chronic balance issues and constant ringing in the ears.
  • Chance of developing infections. A perforated eardrum or open lacerations can become gateways for bacteria, leading to infections that can spread to the middle or inner ear. This can cause acute pain and hearing problems and, if not treated properly, can lead to chronic infections and further hearing loss.

Immediate Steps to Take if You Experience Ear Pain After a Car Accident

If you are dealing with ear pain after a car crash, immediate action is vital for your health and future legal claims. Here are the steps you should take:

  • Seek medical attention. If you experience ear pain after a car accident, get checked by a physician as soon as possible. They can perform a comprehensive examination, including diagnostic tests like CT scans or MRIs, to determine the nature and extent of the injury.
    Receiving medical care also provides you with documentation that links the car accident to your injuries, which can be crucial for filing a compensation claim.
  • Document your symptoms. Create a daily log noting the severity of your ear pain, hearing changes, tinnitus, dizziness, or drainage. This documentation can be useful for treatment and insurance claims.
  • Preserve evidence. Take photographs of visible injuries, such as bruising, swelling, or cuts around the ear. Keep a record of all documentation related to medical treatment, including evidence of medical appointments, prescriptions, and surgeries or therapies related to the ear injury.
  • Follow medical advice. Not following your doctor’s orders can be used against you when you file for compensation. Ensure you attend all follow-up appointments and strictly adhere to prescribed treatments or therapies to facilitate a smooth recovery.
  • Inform your insurance company. Report the accident and your ear injury to your insurance provider, but avoid giving extensive statements until you’re clear about the extent of your injuries and any long-term implications. It’s best to consult with an experienced attorney before speaking with insurance adjusters.
  • Be aware of worsening symptoms. If you notice increased pain, sudden hearing loss, or other concerning symptoms, consult your medical professional immediately.

Ear Pain After a Car Accident

When to Contact an Attorney for Ear Pain After a Car Accident

Experiencing ear pain after a car accident can leave you with long-term consequences, impacting your daily functioning, work capability, and quality of life. These injuries also result in costly medical bills and loss of earning capacity.

If you are injured in a vehicle collision, contact a skilled attorney to protect your rights and help you understand your legal options. Our legal team at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can provide the guidance you need to help you take the proper legal steps after a crash.

We can thoroughly analyze your case to determine the severity of your injuries and who is responsible. This allows us to seek a fair payout from the liable party to win you the compensation you rightfully deserve.

What Types of Compensation Can You Receive for Ear Injuries?

Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you pursue all avenues of compensation after a car accident, including personal injury protection (PIP) insurance benefits and damages in a third-party tort claim.

In Michigan, no-fault insurance, or PIP insurance, is designed to cover accident-related medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault. This means you’re entitled to certain benefits even if you caused the accident. Coverage typically includes medical costs and a percentage of lost wages for up to three years. We can help you file for your PIP benefits after a crash, ensuring you receive what’s owed under your policy.

However, Michigan’s no-fault insurance may not cover all losses in severe cases. If your injuries meet the serious injury threshold — which means they result in significant impairment or permanent disfigurement — you may be able to file a third-party tort claim.

Our legal team, including Eileen Kroll, senior partner attorney, and registered nurse, can review your medical records to determine if your injuries meet this threshold. If so, we can help you pursue the following damages for your ear injury in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit:

  • Economic damages. This covers financial losses related to your ear injuries. It can include the cost of surgeries, hearing devices, rehabilitation, lost wages if you cannot perform your job, and projected medical expenses.
  • Non-economic damages. These offer compensation for the intangible losses related to your ear injuries. This can include the emotional toll of coping with hearing loss, the consistent discomfort of conditions like tinnitus, and the general decline in life enjoyment due to auditory issues.

How to Prove a Negligent Driver Caused Your Ear Pain After a Car Accident

Proving that a negligent driver caused your ear pain after a car accident is essential for a successful personal injury claim. While medical evaluations confirm your injuries, your attorney must help you establish a direct link between the accident and your ear pain with factual evidence. Here’s how your lawyer can prove negligence to support your claim:

  • Witness testimonies. Accounts from bystanders or other drivers can validate your version of events and support the negligence claim. Witnesses can offer a third-party perspective, describing the driver’s behavior contributing to the accident, such as speeding, running a red light, or aggressive driving.
  • Expert medical opinions. Specialists can attest to the nature of your ear injury and its correlation to the accident’s impact on your life. An otolaryngologist or audiologist can provide a detailed analysis, explaining how the trauma directly resulted in your ear pain or related complications.
  • Accident reconstruction. Professionals can recreate the scene to show how the other driver’s actions led to your injuries. This technical breakdown can visually demonstrate the sequence of events, highlighting any negligence on the driver’s part.
  • Video or photo evidence. Surveillance cameras or dashcam footage can provide irrefutable proof of the negligent act. These visual recordings can be pivotal, capturing the moment of impact and the circumstances leading up to it.
  • Police reports. Law enforcement’s account can offer details on violations or reckless behaviors leading to the accident. Officers often note if a driver is speeding, intoxicated, or violating any traffic rules, which can strengthen your negligence claim.

Get a Fair Settlement With Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.

Recovering from injuries after a car collision is a difficult journey. Getting fair compensation can help you pay for the medical care and other losses you suffered due to someone else’s negligent actions.

Our skilled attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. are dedicated to fighting for your rights and helping you receive a settlement that covers the full cost of your damages. Let our compassionate lawyers advocate for your best interests – contact us for a free consultation to understand how you can receive compensation for ear pain after a car accident.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

 

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Murray McPhee is an accomplished legal blogger who is on a mission to help everyday people understand their options when suffering a personal injury.

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