Can a Car Accident Cause Amnesia/Memory Loss?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you’ve been in a car accident and are now experiencing memory loss, you may wonder, can a car accident cause amnesia? Unfortunately, car accidents can lead to amnesia, a condition characterized by memory loss and difficulty recalling past events.
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a car crash, you may be at a higher risk for developing amnesia or memory issues. While seeking compensation after a collision cannot reverse the effects of amnesia, it can provide support for medical expenses, lost income, and the impact on your quality of life.
At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., our experienced attorneys understand the effect amnesia after a crash can have on your life. We can guide you through the legal process by ensuring you have medical documentation and skilled legal representation to support a compensation claim.
What is Amnesia?
Amnesia is a neurological condition that can cause partial or complete memory loss. The condition can result from different causes, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) frequently associated with car accidents.
In a car crash, amnesia can occur when a traumatic brain injury damages the parts of your brain needed for memory formation, and retrieval called the hippocampus and temporal lobes. When these brain structures are harmed, it can result in memory impairment. A common type of amnesia in car accidents is called retrograde amnesia, which affects memories from before the accident.
This memory loss can impact your relationships, career, and daily functioning, preventing you from remembering important memories or information. Not remembering who you are, your loved ones’ names or details about yourself or your life can lead to confusion, frustration, and isolation.
Treating amnesia also requires costly medical care, cognitive therapy, and rehabilitation that involves memory retraining exercises, psychological counseling, and techniques to improve daily functioning.
If you are dealing with memory loss after a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Pursuing a settlement for your TBI-induced amnesia can help you seek a fair settlement to help you pay for necessary medical care and cognitive services to rebuild your life.
Types of Amnesia
A car crash can have lasting effects on your memory, leading to different types of amnesia. After a car accident, you may suffer the following memory impairment conditions:
- Retrograde Amnesia: Retrograde amnesia is the loss of memories formed before the onset of amnesia. It can range from mild to severe, with individuals forgetting recent events or their entire past.
- Anterograde Amnesia: Anterograde amnesia is characterized by the inability to form new memories after the onset of amnesia. Individuals with this type of amnesia struggle to remember new information or experiences shortly after they occur.
- Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA): PTA refers to a period of memory loss following a car accident. During this time, individuals may experience disorientation, confusion, and difficulty forming new memories. The duration of PTA can vary, lasting from minutes to weeks or even longer.
- Transient Global Amnesia (TGA): Although not exclusive to car accidents, TGA can occur due to head trauma. It leads to a temporary and sudden loss of memory, typically lasting a few hours. Individuals experiencing TGA may struggle to recall recent events or retain new information during that time.
- Dissociative Amnesia: This type of amnesia is associated with psychological trauma. The traumatic nature of car accidents can cause amnesia. The emotional and psychological distress experienced during a crash can trigger dissociative amnesia. This serves as a protective mechanism, shielding individuals from distressing memories associated with the traumatic event.
Symptoms of Amnesia After a Car Accident
Knowing the symptoms of amnesia can help you understand the extent of your cognitive impairment after a crash. With cognitive injuries such as amnesia, you may not notice memory changes immediately; they may appear weeks, days, or months after the incident.
If you are experiencing any of the following, seek medical care and speak with a qualified brain injury attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. to protect your rights to compensation:
- Inability to recall events leading up to or immediately after the accident
- Difficulty remembering personal information, such as names, addresses, or phone numbers
- Confusion or disorientation about time, place, or people
- Repeatedly asking the same questions due to forgetfulness
- Struggling to form new memories or learn new information
- Recurrent gaps in memory or blank periods
- Feeling a sense of detachment or unfamiliarity with previously known people or places
- Emotional distress, frustration, or anxiety due to memory loss
Why Seeking a Diagnosis is Crucial to Recovering Compensation?
Seeking a professional diagnosis is crucial when pursuing a compensation claim for amnesia caused by a car accident. Your attorney can use a formal diagnosis from a medical expert as a critical piece of evidence to establish a connection between the accident and resulting memory loss.
Our legal team at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. includes partner attorney Eileen Kroll. Eileen is a registered nurse who has worked in healthcare for many years. She can use her medical knowledge to connect you with respected amnesia experts for an accurate diagnosis and review your records to support your case.
After a crash, you can take the following steps to ensure you receive an appropriate medical diagnosis and treatment:
Initial Medical Assessment
Immediately after a car accident, seek prompt medical attention, even if you feel fine. This evaluation sets the foundation for your diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
During the initial medical assessment, healthcare professionals will thoroughly evaluate your condition, including potential head injuries. This may involve a neurological examination, asking about details of the event, and assessing symptoms of disorientation or awareness.
Consultation with Specialists
On your own or at the suggestion of your attorney, you may consult with specialists such as neurologists or neuropsychologists to obtain a comprehensive diagnosis. These experts may use assessments to understand your TBI, such as the Wechsler Memory Scale or Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).
Diagnostic testing is crucial in evaluating amnesia and determining its underlying causes. Your provider may administer additional diagnostic testing using neuroimaging tools, like MRI or CT scans, to obtain detailed images of your brain. These tests provide objective evidence of amnesia and aid in understanding the specific impact of the car accident on your memory function.
How Filing a Compensation Claim Can Help You Recover After a Collision?
Working with an attorney to seek compensation after a vehicle crash can help you receive a settlement to pay for your medical care and other calculable expenses and losses. It can also offer recompense for the intangible losses suffered due to your amnesia, such as loss of enjoyment of life and impact on your relationships with loved ones.
To seek compensation for amnesia-related damages, your attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you explore all compensation avenues, including a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or third-party claim.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits
All drivers in Michigan must have PIP insurance to cover medical costs in an accident, no matter who is at fault. Under your PIP coverage, you are entitled to benefits that can help with your amnesia-related recovery and financial losses, including”
- Coverage for reasonable medical expenses: Your PIP policy can cover medical expenses, including ambulance services, emergency room care, surgeries, hospital stays, and visits to doctors and specialists.
- Compensation for lost income: If you have to take time off work to recover from the accident, PIP benefits can provide compensation for a portion of your lost income. Typically, you are entitled to receive up to 85% of the income you would have earned during your recovery period.
- Replacement services: PIP benefits may cover replacement services to assist with household chores that you are unable to perform. These services can include childcare, housekeeping, and other necessary tasks. Typically, you can receive up to $20 per day for such services.
- Attendant care: If you require assistance with daily activities due to amnesia, PIP benefits can cover the cost of attendant care. Coverage can provide up to 56 hours of care to help you with your day-to-day needs.
Third-Party Claims and Lawsuits
If your damages exceed allowed PIP benefits or meet the state’s serious injury threshold, you may consider filing a third-party claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Through a third-party claim, you can seek compensation for various damages, including:
- Medical expenses: This encompasses not only immediate medical costs but also future expenses related to ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, therapy, and necessary equipment.
- Lost income and reduced earning capacity: If your amnesia has caused you to quit work or has limited your ability to earn income in the future, you can seek compensation for these financial losses.
- Emotional distress: Experiencing amnesia and the trauma of an accident can lead to emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Compensation may be available if you have suffered emotional distress due to another person’s negligence.
- Loss of consortium: If you have a spouse, they may also experience emotional and physical impacts due to your amnesia and injuries. Loss of consortium compensation addresses the loss of companionship, society, and the intimate relationship shared with your spouse.
Get the Compensation You Deserve After Suffering Memory Loss in a Crash
Losing memories after a car accident can be a distressing experience. Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. attorneys are committed to securing the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. We can provide the legal expertise needed to understand how a car accident can cause amnesia by gathering crucial evidence and assessing the negligence involved in your case.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.