When you get into a car accident, sometimes you can get hurt even if you don’t see any cuts or bruises on your skin. One common injury is called a hematoma. A hematoma is when blood collects and clots under your skin, making a big, swollen bruise. It can be painful and might take some time to heal. Let’s learn more about hematoma after a car accident.

Sometimes, after a car accident, people can get a hematoma inside their brain. This is called a brain hematoma. It’s very serious because it can put pressure on the brain and cause problems. If someone hits their head in an accident and feels dizzy, has a bad headache, or has trouble thinking clearly, they should see a doctor right away. Brain hematomas need quick medical attention.

Understanding Hematoma

A hematoma is when blood collects and clots outside of blood vessels, usually under the skin. It happens when there’s an injury or trauma to the body, like in a car accident. Think of it like a big, swollen bruise. It can be painful and make the skin look all purple and blue.

What is a Hematoma After a Car Accident?

When you’re in a car accident, your body can get hurt even if you don’t see any cuts or bruises on your skin. A hematoma after a car accident is when blood collects and clots under your skin because of the force of the accident. It can happen anywhere on your body that’s been injured.

Types of Hematomas

Hematomas can happen in different places on your body. Here are some types:

  • Subdural Hematoma: This is when blood collects between the brain and its outer layer called the dura. It’s a serious type of hematoma, especially if it’s because of a head injury.
  • Subungual Hematoma: This type of hematoma happens under your fingernails or toenails when you injure your finger or toe. It can make your nail look dark and painful.
  • Intracranial Hematoma: This is a serious type of hematoma that happens inside the skull, usually because of a head injury. It can put pressure on the brain and cause problems.
  • Subcutaneous Hematoma: This is when blood collects under the skin. It can happen anywhere on your body where you’ve been injured.

Causes of Hematomas

Hematomas are usually caused by some kind of injury or trauma to the body. This could be from a car accident, a fall, or even just bumping into something really hard. When your body gets injured, blood vessels can break, and blood can collect and clot under your skin, causing a hematoma.

Hematoma After Car Accident: Causes and Risk Factors

Impact of Trauma on Blood Vessels

When you’re in a car accident, your body can get hurt even if you don’t see any cuts or bruises on your skin. The force of the accident can cause trauma to your body, which can damage the blood vessels under your skin. When blood vessels break, blood can collect and clot under your skin, causing a hematoma.

Risk Factors for Developing a Hematoma After a Car Accident

Some people are more likely to develop a hematoma after a car accident than others. Here are some risk factors:

  • Age: Older adults and young children are more likely to get hematomas after a car accident. Their bodies are more fragile, so even a minor injury can cause blood vessels to break and blood to collect under the skin.
  • Health Conditions: People with certain health conditions, like blood clotting disorders or high blood pressure, are more likely to develop hematomas after a car accident. These conditions can make it harder for the body to stop bleeding and heal properly.
  • Severity of the Accident: The severity of the car accident can also increase the risk of developing a hematoma. In a more severe accident, the force of the impact is greater, which can cause more trauma to the body and increase the likelihood of blood vessels breaking and hematomas forming.

Recognizing Symptoms of Hematoma After a Car Accident:

Common Symptoms

After a car accident, it’s important to watch out for signs of a hematoma, even if you don’t see any cuts or bruises on your skin. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Pain and Swelling: A hematoma can cause the area where the injury happened to feel painful and swollen. It might hurt to touch, and the swelling might make the area feel tight.
  • Discoloration of the Skin: The skin over the hematoma might change color and look purple, blue, or even black. This is because blood has collected and clotted under the skin.
  • Restricted Movement: Depending on where the hematoma is, it might make it hard to move that part of your body. For example, if the hematoma is on your arm, it might be hard to bend or move your arm.
  • Tenderness: The area over the hematoma might feel tender or sore, especially when you touch it. It might feel like a big bruise.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you’ve been in a car accident and you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. Even if the injury seems minor, a hematoma can be serious, especially if it’s in a sensitive area like your head. It’s always better to be safe and get checked out by a doctor. They can make sure you get the right treatment and help you start feeling better.

Diagnosing Hematoma After a Car Accident

Physical Examination

When you go to the doctor after a car accident, they will first do a physical examination. They will look at the injured area and feel it to check for swelling, tenderness, and any other signs of a hematoma.

Imaging Tests

To confirm the diagnosis of a hematoma and see how severe it is, the doctor might order imaging tests. Here are some common imaging tests used:

  • X-rays: X-rays can help the doctor see if there are any broken bones near the hematoma. They can also show if there’s any other damage to the area.
  • CT Scans: A CT scan takes detailed pictures of the inside of your body. It can show the size and location of the hematoma and if there’s any other damage.
  • MRI Scans: An MRI scan uses magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of the inside of your body. It can show the doctor the extent of the hematoma and if there’s any damage to nearby tissues.

Treatment Options for Hematoma After a Car Accident

Conservative Treatment

Most hematomas can be treated without surgery. Here are some conservative treatment options:

  • Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (R.I.C.E.): Resting the injured area, applying ice packs to reduce swelling, using compression bandages to support the area, and elevating the injured area can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Pain Management: Pain medications, such as over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help manage the pain associated with the hematoma.

Medical Interventions

In some cases, medical interventions may be necessary, especially if the hematoma is large or causing other problems.

  • Drainage: If the hematoma is large and painful, the doctor may drain the blood from it using a needle. This can help relieve pain and pressure.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be needed to remove a hematoma, especially if it’s causing serious symptoms or complications. During surgery, the doctor will make a small cut to remove the blood clot and stop any bleeding.
Hematoma After Car Accident
A person holding their arm, showing a large purple and swollen bruise, representing a hematoma after a car accident.

Complications Associated with Hematoma After a Car Accident


One complication of a hematoma after a car accident is infection. If bacteria get into the hematoma, it can cause an infection. Signs of an infection include increased pain, redness, warmth, and pus draining from the area. Infections need to be treated with antibiotics.


Sometimes, a hematoma can come back even after it has been treated. This is called recurrence. If the hematoma isn’t completely drained or if there’s still bleeding in the area, it can come back. Recurrent hematomas may need further treatment, like drainage or surgery.

Nerve Damage

Another complication of a hematoma is nerve damage. If the hematoma puts pressure on nearby nerves, it can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, or even paralysis in the affected area. Nerve damage can sometimes be permanent, so it’s important to get treatment for a hematoma as soon as possible to prevent complications.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Healing Process

After a hematoma from a car accident, your body needs time to heal. The healing process can take time, depending on the size and severity of the hematoma. As the days go by, you’ll notice the swelling and pain start to go away as your body absorbs the blood.

Rehabilitation Exercises

To help your body recover fully, your doctor might recommend rehabilitation exercises. These exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the hematoma and improve your range of motion. They might include gentle stretches and movements to gradually build up strength and flexibility.

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is a type of rehabilitation that focuses on improving movement and function. A physical therapist can create a personalized exercise program to help you recover from the hematoma and any other injuries you may have sustained in the car accident. They’ll work with you to improve your strength, flexibility, and coordination.
  • Occupational Therapy: If the hematoma has affected your ability to do everyday tasks, like getting dressed or cooking, an occupational therapist can help. They’ll teach you new ways to do these tasks and may recommend special equipment or devices to make things easier. The goal of occupational therapy is to help you regain your independence and get back to doing the things you love.

Preventing Hematoma After a Car Accident

Safety Measures While Driving: One of the best ways to prevent hematoma after a car accident is by taking safety measures while driving.

  • Wearing Seatbelts: Always wear your seatbelt when you’re in a car. Seatbelts keep you from hitting hard surfaces inside the car if there’s a crash, which can help prevent injuries like hematoma.
  • Airbag Functionality: Make sure your car’s airbags are working properly. Airbags can cushion the impact during a crash and reduce the risk of injuries, including hematoma.
  • Child Safety Seats: If you have children, make sure they’re properly secured in child safety seats whenever they’re in the car. This can help protect them from injuries in case of an accident, including hematoma. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing and using the safety seat correctly.

What is the difference between a hematoma and a bruise?

A hematoma is a bigger collection of blood under the skin compared to a bruise. While a bruise is usually small and fades away on its own, a hematoma can be larger, more painful, and may require medical treatment.

How long does it take for a hematoma to heal?

It can take a few days to a few weeks for a hematoma to heal, depending on its size and severity. Rest, ice, and elevation can help speed up the healing process.

Can I drive after developing a hematoma?

It’s best to avoid driving if the hematoma affects your ability to move comfortably or safely. Wait until you feel comfortable and can move without pain or restriction before driving again.

Suffered a Hematoma Injury In a Car Accident? Contact Us Today!

If you’ve suffered a hematoma injury in a car accident, don’t wait to get the help you deserve. Contact our experienced car accident lawyer at Phillips Law Offices in Chicago today. We’ll fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us now at (312) 598-0917.

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