Hunter & Cassidy Law

Don’t let memory loss damage your case after a crash

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Motor vehicle accidents

A blow to the head in a collision or other event can seriously affect the brain. Even people wearing motorcycle or bike helmets can suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) if their head strikes the pavement or a vehicle in a collision. Sometimes those in vehicles suffer TBIs as well.

Memory loss, or amnesia, can result from TBI. That can happen when the amygdala, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex or other part of the brain that processes memory is injured. When this occurs after a traumatic event like a crash or serious fall, it’s called post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). Exactly which memories are lost determines what type of PTA a person has.

Types of PTA

For example, the most common form is anterograde. That means someone can recall the events leading up the injury but not those immediately following it – and sometimes nothing that happened in the following hours, days or even longer. For example, you might remember riding your bike and hearing a car behind you, but you may have no memory of it hitting you or of going to the hospital.

Less common is retrograde amnesia. This is where the memories of what happened just prior to the injury are gone, but a person can remember what happened afterwards. Some people have a combination of these or perhaps remember what happened to them but struggle with short-term memory loss – for example, what someone just told them.

Don’t be pressured into making or agreeing to statements

The good news is that usually normal memory returns as the brain heals. You may need some type of professional help to get your memory back. There are various exercises and treatments that can help. In the meantime, however, you may have insurers, law enforcement and the at-fault driver or those representing them pressuring you to make a statement about what happened or give your side of the story. If you’ve been diagnosed with any type of amnesia or even if you’re uncertain of precisely what happened, it’s crucial not to agree to anyone else’s account of events or even to give your own until you’ve spoken with an attorney.

Once you make either of these efforts, they can be used against you to prevent the at-fault driver from being held liable for the crash (and possibly shift blame to you). That’s why your best course of action is to seek legal guidance before dealing with issues of fault and liability to protect your rights and help you seek justice and compensation appropriately and effectively under the circumstances.