Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury in Accidents
You remember your first day of kindergarten, but you don’t recall what you wore to work yesterday or where you parked your car today in the grocery store parking lot. And what’s that word for that gigantic gray African animal, the one with the big ears and the tusks?
Memory issues are common for many people as they age. Most of us experience occasional forgetfulness caused by stress, fatigue, or stimulus overload. But difficulty remembering even more basic information can occur after a car wreck, especially if it results in a Traumatic Brain Injury. It’s actually typical for trauma patients not to recall the actual event or have difficulty recalling the periods of time shortly before or after their wreck.
The brain is one of the most fragile of all organs. Comprised mostly of water, some compare its composition to Jell-O. No wonder it’s so susceptible to injury in a car wreck. As you might expect, brain injuries typically occur when the head makes contact with a hard surface, such as the dashboard, a window, or the steering wheel. Depending on the severity of the resulting injuries, some memory problems related to car wrecks can be long-lasting or even permanent.
Memory loss after a car wreck falls into three categories: post-traumatic amnesia, retrograde amnesia, and anterograde amnesia. With post-traumatic amnesia (PTA), a car wreck victim may be unable to answer simple basic questions such as “What’s your birthday?,” “What season of the year is it now?” or “Who is the President?”
When told they were victims of a car accident, some people become incredulous, even if they find themselves hospitalized with apparent injuries. Head injury victims may not realize they have memory loss, even when faced with questions they are unable to answer. Confusion is a common symptom of PTA. Thankfully, for many people, these symptoms may resolve within days.
For others, it’s not the accident they can’t remember, it’s what happened before it occurred. That’s called retrograde amnesia.
One Huntsville mother recalls vividly when her then-teenage son suffered a head injury after a wreck that caused this condition. He was hospitalized and in a coma for 13 days before he awoke. Weeks passed before he walked or talked again. But most disturbingly, he was unable to remember anything about his life prior to the accident.
His mother, who was at his bedside almost non-stop throughout his hospitalization and rehabilitation, said he did not know who he was — or who she was. His condition required that he reacquaint himself with other family members, and he felt much like a stranger in his own home.
With the help of his family and medical professionals, he relearned the most basic life skills one at a time. He’s now in his late twenties and excellent health. But while he miraculously recovered, graduated from high school, obtained a prestigious job with a government agency, married, and fathered two children, he still has no memories prior to the accident.
Anterograde amnesia is defined by difficulty with “creating” or “filing” new memories after an accident or trauma. While a victim of this type of memory loss may recall memories from the past, it’s the present they are unable to properly categorize. Life can be difficult and frustrating when the order of day-to-day activities is jumbled.
Losing your memory, whether long or short-term, is a devastating consequence of a car wreck. However, memory loss is not the only indicator of a brain injury after a car accident. Other signs include difficulty speaking, headaches, fatigue, light sensitivity, irritability, anxiety and depression, and insomnia, among other symptoms.
If you are suffering from memory loss or other symptoms associated with a traumatic brain injury caused by a car wreck, you may be entitled to recover damages — even if you can’t recall the details of the wreck.
Attorneys have numerous ways to source and document the facts. They can reconstruct the accident to determine what happened, how your injuries may have occurred, and discover why you are suffering from memory loss as a result. Your hospital records will likely refer to immediate memory loss as noted by medical staff, and ongoing issues as reported to your doctor. Bystanders who were witnesses to the accident can provide testimony to support your claims. Attorneys will also use such sources as police reports, video evidence, and photographs to support your claims.
A brain injury, regardless of its severity, may also impact your employment status and ability to work. A competent attorney will know the steps you need to take to prove your damages, which include your pain and suffering.
There is no cost to you unless our firm wins your case. For your free consultation, contact Hornsby Watson & Hornsby today.