What Is a Hematoma and What Causes It?

Click For Free Consultation

If you are involved in an accident in Nebraska, you may be diagnosed with an injury known as a hematoma. This type of injury forms when a blood vessel leaks or is ruptured. Depending on the location and severity of your hematoma, it could be dangerous and have wide-ranging health complications.

A hematoma is a collection of blood outside of blood vessels, often caused by an injury or trauma that breaks the vessel walls, allowing blood to pool and clot under the skin. This can result in a visible bruise, swelling, and sometimes significant pain, depending on the size and location of the hematoma. Understanding the causes and symptoms of most hematomas is crucial for effective treatment and management. If you believe you have a hematoma due to a minor trauma or an incident caused by someone else, please contact Knowles Law Firm for fantastic legal support.

What Is a Hematoma?

A hematoma is a collection or pocket of blood that has leaked from a damaged blood vessel. Essentially, it is a serious type of bruise. A standard bruise is a mild and confined type of hematoma. A hematoma is not a blood clot, nor will it cause a blood clot.

How Does a Hematoma Form?

It is blood that has leaked or burst from a damaged blood vessel. When something ruptures a blood vessel or makes the vessel leak (hemorrhage) into the surrounding tissues or body cavity, it forms a hematoma. 

What Are the Different Types of Hematomas?

There are different types of hematomas based on where they occur. A subcutaneous hematoma occurs beneath the skin, while an intramuscular hematoma occurs within the muscles or other soft tissues.

A hematoma where bleeding occurs inside the nose is a septal hematoma, and significant bleeding inside the ear is an auricular hematoma. A patient can also experience a hematoma inside of the skull from bleeding in the brain tissue. These might be an epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hematoma, or intracerebral hematoma.

There are also many other types, such as intracranial hematoma, retroperitoneal hematoma, hepatic hematoma, subchorionic hematoma, subungual hematoma, and more. Because there are so many different places and complications associated with the hematoma site, we encourage you to seek medical attention.

The Importance of Medical Care for Your Hematoma and Hematoma Symptoms

When you seek medical care immediately and receive adequate care, such as a blood test, get your hematoma diagnosed, and receive treatment, you are much more likely to heal quickly and completely.

Please get immediate medical attention, tell your doctor if you have neurological symptoms, if you think you have associated swelling or internal bleeding, use a blood thinner, or any other issues that might increase the risk of long-term damage. A head injury or blood clotting may also cause a hematoma.

If you need assistance finding a doctor who is willing to support you during legal matters, please reach out to Knowles Law Firm. We can provide a referral or explore your medical options.

Common Causes of Hematomas

Trauma is the number one cause of hematomas. Trauma from an external force can injure the blood vessels enough to cause them to rupture or leak blood into the surrounding area. Trauma or an injury affecting small blood vessels can cause a simple bruise. Damage to larger vessels, however, can cause more severe hemorrhaging and larger, meaning hematomas may become worse and more visible over time. Some of the most common causes of hematomas are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Bumps or blows to the head
  • An explosion or blast
  • Gunshot wounds or stabbings
  • Bone fractures or orthopedic injuries
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Blood clots
  • Head injuries
  • Liver disease
  • Placental abruption
  • Broken bones
  • Blood cancers
  • Compartment syndrome

Medications can also cause hematomas, such as blood thinners or pain medications. If you are involved in a traumatic accident and have reason to suspect a hematoma, see a doctor for an official diagnosis and treatment plan. Although a minor hematoma will go away on its own without special medical attention or treatment, a severe hematoma may require medications or even surgical treatment.

How to Tell if You Have a Hematoma

When blood collects and pools beneath the skin, it can cause visible symptoms of a hematoma, such as a reddish or purplish discoloration of the skin or skin that changes from red to blue to green to yellow over time, similar to a typical bruise.

A hematoma can also cause swelling, pain, redness and warmth around the affected area. If the hematoma occurs as part of a head injury—such as in the brain tissue—symptoms may also include confusion, headache, weakness, vomiting, trouble breathing, lethargy, and sudden changes in mood.

Is a Hematoma Serious?

This answer depends on the location of the hematoma and potential related complications. If the hematoma is part of a traumatic brain injury itself, it is serious and requires emergency medical care. If you notice any of the above-listed common symptoms of a head injury alongside a hematoma, go to a hospital in Omaha without delay. Other signs that a hematoma may be a symptom of a life-threatening or traumatic brain injury include:

  • Abnormal pupil size
  • Neck or back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • A rapidly progressing hematoma
  • Severe bleeding from the face or head
  • Seizures 
  • Loss of consciousness

A hematoma could also be serious if it occurs in a confined space, such as scar tissue or the lining muscle tissue that covers the outside of the heart (the pericardium). A hematoma that expands within an enclosed space can place pressure on the surrounding arteries and veins, interrupting the blood flow and causing serious complications such as organ damage. It is important to see a doctor if you believe you have a hematoma.

If you have a hematoma due to a head injury or other injuries caused by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, contact a personal injury lawyer in Omaha to discuss your ability to file a claim.

Contact Knowles Law Firm for Assistance With Hematoma-Related Legal Matters

At Knowles Law Firm, we understand the serious impact of car accidents and other incidents, including the impact-related injuries like hematomas can have on your life. With 55 years of experience, we work diligently to bring our cases to a fair and timely resolution. We have a history of obtaining multi-million dollar settlements for our clients and are committed to providing the attention and care your case deserves.

Our Omaha personal injury lawyers are dedicated to moving cases forward efficiently, whether through settlement or trial. If you believe your hematoma resulted from someone else’s negligence, contact us for experienced legal support. Call us at (402) 431-9000 or fill out our contact form to get started.