It’s not uncommon to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a car crash. Despite the name, some TBIs are more serious than others. It all depends on what part of the brain was injured and how badly. That can only be determined by scans and other medical testing.
Because the brain controls so much of what we’re capable of, there are numerous symptoms associated with TBIs. They can include everything from headaches to vision and hearing problems to emotional imbalances to cognitive impairments.
Antegrade vs. retrograde amnesia
One of the more frightening potential effects of a TBI is what’s called post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). It can be highly unsettling to have memory problems – particularly after a traumatic event. You want to sort out what happened, but your brain may not let you.
This type of PTA is called anterograde amnesia. It’s the most common after a car crash. It affects a person’s memory of events that occurred after the injury. If you have this, you may be able to recall another car hitting you, but not how you got from your car to the hospital. In some cases, these memories never return.
The other type of PTA is retrograde amnesia. A person suffering from this may remember pulling out of their driveway but not being struck by a car as they headed down their street.
Not all memory loss is amnesia
It’s important to point out that even people not diagnosed with PTA can suffer memory loss after a brain injury. Usually, that’s caused by swelling in the brain that typically goes down with time and proper care.
Obviously, if you’re suffering from any type of memory impairment around the crash, you shouldn’t talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They might suggest things that happened that aren’t accurate. If you remember something later, its accuracy may be challenged since you didn’t mention it initially.
Memory loss, whether short-term or long-term, can affect your ability to work, attend school and care for your family. It’s crucial to take that into consideration as you seek a financial settlement. Don’t accept a settlement until you know what your expenses and damages will ultimately involve. That’s particularly true if your memories of the event aren’t clear.