woman memory loss

Considering the brain’s role in processing and retaining information, it’s not surprising that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can impact memory. Any accident involving a blow to the head may cause short- and long-term recall problems and can even result in total amnesia surrounding the trauma. The good news is that even if you can’t recall the events of the accident, an attorney can still help you hold the at-fault party accountable for your injury.

Types of Brain Injuries That May Result in Memory Loss

Memory issues can arise when someone sustains damage, like bruising or tearing, to areas of the brain that play a role in remembering old details or filtering new data. This medical issue is a distinct possibility during violent collisions, such as car, bus, truck, and motorcycle wrecks. 

However, vehicle collisions aren’t the only accidents where TBIs with memory loss occur. Serious slip and fall injuries can lead to the same effects as can sports injuries or workplace accidents. Of course, lost memory is also a danger during acts of purposeful violence by an aggressor that end in a brain injury.  

Specific types of brain injuries that may result in memory issues for survivors include:

  • Closed head wounds – A TBI is considered “closed” if the injury doesn’t fracture the skull or result in a direct cut to any brain matter. These wounds are more dangerous than they sound, as the effects may not appear immediately, and you might not even be aware you have a brain injury until days later.
  • Coup-contrecoup injuries – This specific type of closed head wound takes place when the brain bounces off the skull, causing contusions where the brain impacts with hard material. 
  • Diffuse axonal injuries - Another closed head wound, diffuse axonal injuries happen when the violent motion of an accident results in shearing and tearing of brain tissue. 
  • Penetrating head wounds – The opposite of a “closed” wound, this catastrophic “open” injury involves a skull fracture and something physically penetrating brain tissue.

Living With Memory Loss After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Not all traumatic brain injury patients are affected the same way when it comes to memory issues. Some will simply never remember the accident because the victim’s brain never stored the event as images to recall. Others will regain those memories of the event in time but may have ongoing memory problems.

The three main types of memory loss following an accident with a traumatic brain injury include:

  • Short-term memory loss – Rather than forgetting specific past events, you may have problems forming new memories or recalling something that recently happened. You could need to be told the same information repeatedly or frequently forget something that took place earlier in the day. Victims dealing with short-term memory loss can easily lose track of time, forget appointment dates and times, or be unable to locate objects like keys.
  • Long-term memory loss – Some TBIs cause an inability to recall events in the past, even if they were significant. This could manifest as a loss of memories before a certain point or difficulty remembering the specifics of events that occurred years ago.
  • Post-traumatic amnesia – With this type of memory loss, patients are unable to recall the actual incident that caused the brain injury, such as a car crash. Post-traumatic amnesia is typically seen when the accident victim loses consciousness at the scene. In most cases, the longer the loss of consciousness, the longer memories of the event will remain locked away.

That third type of memory loss brings up unique challenges when attempting to recover damages for your injury. If you can’t remember the events of the accident, you still have the legal right to file a personal injury suit against the liable party. There are difficulties to overcome in this sort of case since you won’t be able to testify about what occurred, but an experienced attorney can handle those issues. 

Following a thorough investigation of the cause of your accident, your legal counsel may use scene reconstruction methods, expert witnesses, medical documentation, and other evidence to argue your case in court.

What to Do After a Brain Injury Causes Memory Loss 

Memory issues often bring trouble completing tasks you were familiar with before, which can, unfortunately, cause friction with loved ones and make issues like depression and anxiety even worse. When dealing with a TBI severe enough to impact memory, you will likely also have additional negative symptoms that interfere with your regular routine. Other cognitive issues, physical mobility difficulties, speech problems, and extreme behavioral changes are all possible.

For all of these reasons, you need to contact a knowledgeable brain injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Memory loss and other TBI symptoms may turn your life completely upside down, but a lawyer can help you secure compensation to treat and accommodate the injury.

A qualified brain injury lawyer will fight for the full amount you are owed rather than accepting a quick lowball settlement offered by an insurance company looking to save on costs. Memory issues after a brain injury can drastically reduce your overall quality of life, and your compensation should adequately reflect that. Your damages could potentially cover:

  • All medical bills stemming from the injury and estimated future healthcare costs
  • Income lost while recovering and lost earning potential if memory issues and other symptoms prevent you from working 
  • Pain, suffering, and lost quality of life
  • Out-of-pocket costs when undergoing treatment
  • Rehabilitative therapy costs, such as speech, language, or occupational therapy after the accident

Talk to Our Richmond Brain Injury Attorney if You Have Memory Issues From an Accident

The best way to protect yourself and your family financially after a brain injury is to retain an attorney with experience in TBI cases. You want someone in your corner who has dealt with these issues before and understands your struggles. If you or a loved one are dealing with memory problems after an accident, schedule a consultation with The Mottley Law Firm by calling (804) 409-0876 or sending your contact details online.

Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims