Can I File a Claim if I Have No Memory of My Car Crash?
Memory loss after a car crash or any other traumatic event is common. Often, the inability to remember what happened is short-lived. However, memory loss could last longer or even be permanent. Learn more about memory loss after a crash, including whether it could prevent victims from seeking compensation. High Stakes Injury Law is a trusted law firm with extensive experience helping victims injured by the negligence of others. We have recovered millions for our clients and offer a zero-cost initial consultation. Our Las Vegas car crash attorneys are here to provide legal help, and our staff are ready to take your call 24/7.
Why Do I Have Memory Loss After My Car Crash?The reasons for memory loss after a car crash vary. Sometimes it is the result of a victim’s “fight or flight” response to the trauma of being in an accident. Memory loss due to a survival response is often short-lived. For other accident victims, memory loss may be due to a head or brain injury they sustained in the crash. The extent of memory loss after a car crash can vary, based on the severity of a victim’s brain injury.
What Does Having Memory Loss Mean for My Injury Claim?There are many factors that could affect your ability to file a claim. Having memory loss will not necessarily hurt your ability to seek compensation. However, it does make proving your case more challenging. The injured victim (plaintiff) must still be able to prove the negligence of the at-fault party (defendant). If you have a valid case and hire an attorney, he or she can help to build a strong claim on your behalf. Regardless of any inability to remember what happened, other evidence may help to support your claim, such as:
- Photos taken of any vehicle damage, the accident scene, your injuries and more
- The police or accident report documented by first responders
- Video footage from nearby traffic cams, your own dash cam or dash cams in other vehicles
- Credible witnesses who are willing to provide a written or recorded statement
- Accident reconstructionist – if necessary – to clarify questionable details about how the crash occurred
What Types of Head Injuries Could Cause Memory Loss After a Car Crash?Head injuries are very common in car crashes. Victims may hit their heads against the steering wheel, dashboard or another hard object inside the car. Sometimes an object may penetrate the windshield or passenger window and cause the victim to suffer a serious head injury. Common types of head injuries that may cause memory loss include:
ConcussionConcussions are a very common car crash injury. They can result from even a mild blow to the head or violent shaking of the body. In addition to memory issues, injured victims may experience many other symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, trouble concentrating, sleep issues, sensitivity to light and anxiety.
Skull fractureSkull fractures can happen in many types of accidents, including a car crash. The severity of a victim’s symptoms depends on how bad the fracture is – there are four types:
- Linear skull fracture - indicates a break in the bone, but the bone is stable and does not move about
- Depressed skull fractures - part of the bone may have sunk into the head; usually needs surgery
- Skull base fracture – a serious fracture at the bottom of the skull often requiring immediate surgery
- Penetrating skull fracture – the skull is penetrated by another object, which could cause both a fracture and a brain bleed. Immediate treatment and surgery are required.
Intracranial Hematoma (Brain Bleed)A brain bleed is, essentially, when blood pools within the skull. When a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, blood collects under the skull or brain tissue. This type of injury increases pressure on the brain and can become life-threatening without immediate treatment. That is why you should always seek emergency medical care after a car crash.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)A TBI is another type of brain injury that car crash victims may suffer. A hard blow to the head during a car crash could cause a closed head injury. However, a more serious TBI can happen if an object penetrates the skull. TBIs range from mild to severe, affecting many physical, cognitive and sleep symptoms. Memory loss for a TBI could be short or long-term, depending on the severity of the damage. Regardless of the type of head injury, crash victims could experience memory loss, along with many other symptoms. Head injuries of any kind require immediate medical attention and follow-up to give victims the best chance for recovery.
What Types of Memory Loss Do Car Crash Victims Suffer?There are different types of memory loss (amnesia) a victim could suffer after a head injury, including:
- Post-traumatic amnesia: Memory loss that may leave crash victims feeling confused and unable to recall common or well-known details.
- Anterograde amnesia: This is usually the result of a blow or jolt to the head. Some victims may be unable to form new memories initially. Crash victims recover at a different pace with this type of memory loss. Some may recover quickly, while others may take much longer.
- Retrograde amnesia: When victims suffer from retrograde amnesia, they may be unable to recall anything that happened prior to the crash.