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Can a traumatic brain injury cause amnesia?

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Serious Injuries

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) suffered in a car crash, a fall or some other kind of accident can leave a person with a multitude of symptoms. Some are more serious than others. Some are temporary, while others can be permanent. It depends on what part of the brain was injured and how badly. 

The brain has a role in everything from our senses to our movements to our emotions. Our brain is also where our memories are stored – those from just a second ago and from many years ago.

What is post-traumatic amnesia?

There are two key types of post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). The most common is anterograde amnesia. It affects a person’s memory of what occurred immediately following the injury. You may remember seeing a car speeding towards you and crashing into you, but nothing else until you woke up in the hospital. Memories lost to anterograde amnesia sometimes never return.

The second, less common, type of PTA is called retrograde amnesia. That’s when a person has no memory of events prior to the injury but recalls everything that happened afterward. Retrograde amnesia typically affects memories recently stored in the brain, like what they were doing just before the injury. 

Memory loss can also be caused by swelling

If the injury caused swelling in the brain, that can also affect a person’s memory. This type of memory loss is usually temporary. Memories will return as the swelling dissipates and the brain heals.

The important thing is to get proper diagnosis and treatment if you struck your head or even if it was badly shaken, as can occur in a rear-end crash. In the meantime, as long as you have gaps in your memory of an accident or even if things are still a bit unclear, it’s important not to provide any statements to insurance representatives, law enforcement authorities or to anyone representing the person at fault. These can come back to haunt you and hurt your ability to get necessary compensation for your medical care and other expenses and damages. Having legal guidance can help you protect your rights.