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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Skull Fracture?

October 27, 2020

You were trying to turn left on your motorcycle when an SUV plowed through the intersection, crashing into you. You were thrown from your bike and hit your head hard on the concrete. Fortunately, you were wearing a helmet, but your face and head began to swell and bruise, and you blacked out afterward. At the ER, the doctors diagnose a skull fracture.

A skull fracture is a break in the skull bone, and they’re common after motorcycle accidents and other motor vehicle crashes. They are painful and can significantly change your day-to-day life. Depending on the severity of the injury, fractures can be relatively minor or require major surgery. If you or someone you love is suffering from head pain or a skull fracture, you should know the signs, symptoms, and what to do next. Keep reading to learn more.

Symptoms of a Skull Fracture

Skull fractures happen when something forcefully hits the head. A few common causes of skull fractures include:

  • Tripping and falling on unsafe premises
  • Car accidents
  • Bike crashes
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Penetrating injuries (when an object violently strikes your head)

Common signs of a fractured skull include:

  • A bleeding wound at the point of impact
  • Bruising and contusions around the eyes (raccoon eyes), behind the ears, or at an open wound
  • Bleeding from the ears, eyes, or nose
  • Extreme pain and sensitivity around the wound
  • Clear fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) leaking from the ears
  • Unusual head shape, including swelling, an indent, or even part of the skull visible

Unfortunately, it’s common to have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in addition to a damaged skull. If you have any dizziness, loss of consciousness, difficulty staying awake, vomiting, severe headache, or other impairments, you may also have a brain injury.

The moments after sustaining a head injury can be painful, difficult to remember, and challenging to navigate. If you or someone you love may have a fractured skull after falling, crashing on your bike, getting in a car accident, or for any other reason, you must seek medical attention right away.

Common Types of Skull Fractures

There are four major types of skull fractures.

Basilar Skull Fractures

The most serious type of skull fracture, a basilar skull fracture, involves a break in the bone near the base of the skull. Signs of a basilar skull fracture usually include bruises under the eyes and behind the ears, and sometimes clear fluid running out of the nose or ears.

Linear Skull Fractures

A common type of skull fracture, linear fractures involve a break in the skull that does not move or shift the bone. Usually, people with this type of injury don’t require surgery or extensive treatment.

Diastatic Skull Fractures

Diastatic fractures occur along the natural lines where our skulls fuse together as children. A diastatic fracture makes those gaps wider and usually occurs in infants or younger children.

Depressed Skull Fractures

A depressed skull fracture happens when the impact causes the damaged skull to be sunken in. This type of fracture can occur without a cut or gash and may require surgery to repair.

Doctors can diagnose your precise type of head injury, using x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other tests. Again, you should never delay medical treatment if you suspect that someone suffered a serious head injury. Prompt medical treatment can save you or your loved one’s life and improve your chances of a fuller recovery.

RELATED: Head Injuries: What Every Accident Victim Needs to Know

What to Do if You Think You Have a Fractured Skull

Skull fractures and other head trauma can turn your life upside down, especially if you’re struggling with TBI symptoms or taking large doses of pain or anti-seizure medications. However, a few simple steps can help protect your future.

Seek Medical Treatment and Follow Up With Your Doctors

If you or someone you love got in a crash, accident, or fall and experienced head trauma, go to the doctor right away. You may have a skull fracture, traumatic brain injury, or brain damage. Only a doctor can determine the true extent of your injuries by taking X-rays or a CT scan. Once you know what’s wrong, they can help you make a recovery plan.

“If you or someone you love got in a crash, accident, or fall and experienced head trauma, go to the doctor right away. You may have a skull fracture, traumatic brain injury, or brain damage. Only a doctor can determine the true extent of your injuries by taking X-rays or a CT scan. Once you know what’s wrong, they can help you make a recovery plan.”

Your treatment plan may include surgery, monitoring, pain management, physical and occupational therapy, and other services. In severe cases, you may need to be hospitalized and participate in intensive, ongoing rehabilitation.

Can’t Afford the Doctor? Don’t Let That Stop You From Getting Help

We get it; healthcare can be expensive, especially if your severe head injury requires a CT scan or surgery. However, brain and skull injuries are some of the most serious, and money shouldn’t keep you from getting the treatment you need. If you were hurt in a crash or accident that wasn’t your fault, you should include the cost of your medical treatment in an insurance claim. If you have questions about this process or are struggling to get the money you deserve, call a lawyer.

Track Your Symptoms and Document Your Limitations

Once you’re home, keep track of your pain, symptoms, and how many days you had to take off work to rest and heal. Take pictures of your injury and track your ability to take care of your family, home, and other needs. We also encourage our clients to keep a journal where they track their daily symptoms, doctor appointments, medication side effects, and other injury-related issues. This information will help you build a compelling case, should you file an insurance claim or lawsuit.

RELATED: How to Rebuild After a Catastrophic Injury

Speak With an Experienced Head Injury Lawyer

You should also consider contacting a personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the insurance claim process. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’ve helped people just like you get over half a billion dollars to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. We work closely with our clients and respected experts, building cases, and demanding fair compensation for their injuries.

Hurt in a Crash and Need Settlement Money? Call the Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys Team

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we understand how challenging life can be when you’re recovering from a devastating injury like a skull fracture. We are proud to fight for people just like you and have dedicated our careers to making sure you get the money you deserve after a terrible accident.

To learn what to do next and how our experienced team of personal injury lawyers can fight for you, schedule a free consultation today. We’ll meet with you in private to discuss your case, your options, and what to do next. Schedule your consultation today by filling out our quick online contact form or by calling us at 251-888-8888.


Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2020). Head Injury. Retrieved from

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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