One of the most frightening effects of a concussion or other traumatic brain injury (TBI) is memory loss. This can happen if one or more of the areas of the brain that is involved in storing memories has been injured. This can result in post-traumatic amnesia (PTA).
Post-traumatic amnesia can last for anywhere from hours to months or even longer, depending on how badly the brain was injured and how long it takes for the swelling to dissipate. Victims typically experience it if they were knocked unconscious.
Types of PTA
There are several types of PTA. The most common among those injured in car crashes is anterograde amnesia. With this type, someone has trouble remembering what happened immediately after the crash, like how they got to the hospital. They may also have trouble remembering things in the recent past, like a conversation with a doctor or family member they just had.
Another type of PTA, which is less common, is retrograde amnesia. A person with this often can’t remember what led up to the crash. However, they can remember the aftermath. It’s possible to have both, which can leave a person with virtually no memory of what happened to them. A rare type of PTA is called dissociative amnesia. This is where a victim can forget their own identity and not even recognize themselves in a mirror or in photos.
Besides memory loss, PTA can also cause a range of other symptoms. These can include agitation, aggression and child-like behavior.
Don’t guess at things you don’t remember when questioned about a crash
If you or a loved one is experiencing any difficulty clearly remembering what happened during, before or after a crash, it’s crucial not to talk to insurance companies or anyone representing others involved in the crash. They can try to convince you that things happened in a way they didn’t. If law enforcement asks questions, you don’t have to give them information you don’t remember.
Don’t agree to a settlement until you know the full extent of your injuries and other damages. Having legal guidance can help you protect your rights.