Can a Car Accident Cause Memory Loss?

Driver injured from car accident suffering from head injuries.

Both neurological and psychological damage can cause memory loss after a car accident. Memories should return within hours or days. However, prolonged memory loss might indicate a severe injury, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Seek medical care immediately after any traffic collision.

Once you have seen a doctor, you should consult with an experienced car accident lawyer from Truitt Law Offices. If someone else was to blame for the accident, they could owe you money. Call or contact us online for a free consultation.

How Common Are Brain Injuries in Auto Accidents?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 611 hospitalizations and 176 deaths related to traumatic brain injuries occur each day. Traffic collisions are one of the most common causes of TBI.

While seatbelts restrain vehicle occupants to their seats, their heads remain free to move – but only to a certain point. The violent force of a traffic collision can cause the head to hit the steering wheel, window, or dashboard. Flying debris can also strike someone in the head, leading to a TBI.

What Kinds of Brain Injuries Cause Memory Loss?

TBIs are caused by external forces damaging the brain, often resulting in memory loss. Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the location and extent of the brain damage. Mild to moderate cases of TBI often heal with prompt and adequate medical care. However, some brain injuries are permanent and lead to long-term memory loss and cognitive impairments.

Memory loss is often one of the first symptoms to appear in the immediate aftermath of car accidents – preventing a victim from understanding the severity of the situation or remembering what happened. They may experience confusion and disorientation, affecting the decision-making process.

In some cases, the memory of the accident will return as the brain heals. In others, the brain may heal fully while the memory of the crash never returns. Particularly severe injuries could prevent the victim’s long-term ability to form, retain, and access memories.

Is All Memory Loss the Same?

A wide range of injuries and ailments can lead to memory loss, each in a different way. Consider the following common causes and effects of memory loss:

  • Concussion – A concussion is a mild type of TBI. Short-term memory loss is a common symptom. However, it typically isn’t a permanent issue.
  • Brain damage – The hippocampus is an area of the brain responsible for memory. Damage to it can cause problems with memory. When this damage is severe, it can prevent the victim from recovering old memories or forming new ones.
  • Mental trauma – Extreme trauma can cause someone to develop dissociative amnesia. The mind subconsciously avoids processing the information and thoughts that recall memories of the traumatic incident.
  • Retrograde amnesia – A severe blow to the head can cause retrograde amnesia. Memories made before the injury are effectively erased. Retrograde amnesia can be short-term or long-term, depending on the severity of the head injury.

What Other Symptoms Might Appear Alongside Memory Loss?

Memory loss isn’t the only symptom of a TBI. Additional signs of a traumatic brain injury include:

  • Issues with judgment
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty identifying objects and their functions
  • Trouble speaking
  • Difficulty solving problems
  • Decreased vocabulary and slow, hesitant speech
  • Shorter attention span
  • Trouble choosing the right words to say
  • Lost sense of space and time

doctor examining brain scans

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Seeking treatment for your injury is essential after a car accident. You must visit your doctor or the emergency room after leaving the crash scene. Let a physician evaluate your injury to determine the type of treatment you need. If they recommend follow-up care, follow their instructions. Skipping appointments can negatively affect the outcome of your case. An insurance company might view your inconsistent or inadequate treatment as evidence that your injury isn’t serious or that you are responsible for making it worse. They can justify offering a much lower settlement than you need to cover your losses.

Saving records is critical. You should keep a copy of your billing statements, vehicle repair bills, hospital records, prescriptions, and other accident-related documents. Your records might be valuable evidence in proving the extent of your injury and other losses.

You should also hire an experienced car accident lawyer like the ones you’ll find at Truitt Law Offices. Although having legal representation isn’t mandatory to pursue a claim, it can expedite the process and strengthen your claim. Your attorney can handle the legal work for you, so you don’t have to worry about gathering evidence or talking to the insurance company adjuster. Your only focus should be on trying to recover.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Pursue Through a Car Accident Lawsuit?

The compensation you recover through a car accident lawsuit can provide you with money for you:

  • Accident-related medical expenses, such as ER visits, prescriptions, and rehabilitative care
  • Lost wages
  • Lower earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Property damage

You might also recover punitive damages if your lawsuit goes to trial. This money is meant to punish the at-fault party for their egregious behavior rather than to compensate you for any specific loss.

What Is the Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Indiana?

In Indiana, the statute of limitations allows a two-year timeframe to file a lawsuit for a car crash. That means you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit against the negligent driver or another party. While there are exceptions, filing after the deadline can make you ineligible to recover compensation.

Contact an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer

At Truitt Law Offices, we have been representing accident victims in Indiana for over 40 years. We can protect your rights and aggressively pursue the full compensation you deserve. You won’t be alone in the fight for justice.

Call or contact us online to get started with a free consultation with a car accident lawyer.

Visit Our Indiana Car Accident Law Offices

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About the Author

Phil Truitt joined Truitt Law Offices in 2018 after he earned his J.D. from Ohio Northern University Ohio Northern Pettit College of Law. However, his association with the law firm dates all the way back to childhood. His father, Richard, established the firm over 40 years ago. Growing up, Phil…