While temporary memory loss after an accident can be normal, prolonged memory loss and cognitive impairments can be a sign that something more severe is going on. However, even if you think your memory loss is minor or temporary due to shock, you should still seek immediate medical attention.
Evidence that you sought medical attention will be necessary to help you win your case should you decide to file a California car accident claim to recover compensation. If your memory loss is the result of a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to financial compensation, whether the injury is minor or severe.
Causes of Memory Loss After an Accident
There are various reasons why a person might develop memory loss after an accident, including:
- Shock: Immediately following an accident, it is common for a person’s body to go into shock from the experience and the adrenaline. When this happens, temporary memory loss recalling what just happened can occur.
- Emotional Trauma: In some cases, more severe accidents can cause a person to develop emotional trauma or PTSD. In an attempt to deal with this trauma, the mind can do funny things, like shut down and block out memories of what happened.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: Head injuries can also cause a person to temporarily lose their memory. However, the more severe the injury, the more severe the memory loss may be. With traumatic brain injuries, for example, memory loss can last months or even years, and in some cases, it may even be permanent and lead to other cognitive impairments.
- An Existing Medical Condition: People who suffer from previous cognitive impairments and conditions affecting their brain might be more susceptible to developing memory loss after an accident.
- Drugs or Alcohol: If a person was on drugs or drunk at the time of the accident, this could make it harder for them to recall what happened. Though the memory of an incident can come back once the drugs and alcohol wear off, this is no guarantee. Memory loss from substance abuse can vary from person to person.
Types of Memory Loss
After an accident, there are generally three different types of memory loss a person can suffer from:
- Post-Traumatic Amnesia: This type of memory loss is typically temporary and is what a person suffers from when they are experiencing emotional distress or PTSD after an accident.
- Anterograde Amnesia: This is the most common type of memory loss suffered after a car accident. People with anterograde amnesia can still recall long-term memories but will struggle to form new short-term memories after the accident.
- Retrograde Amnesia: With this type of memory loss, a person will often lose all memory of anything that occurred before the accident, such as the accident itself and any previous life events. However, they will still be able to form new short and long-term memories going forward.
Signs and Symptoms of Memory Loss
While memory loss itself does not necessarily have symptoms, there are signs or symptoms to look out for that can indicate a head or brain injury that could be causing memory loss. These include:
- Fatigue and losing consciousness
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe headaches and migraines
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Difficulty speaking and forming thoughts and sentences
- Ringing in the ears
- Brain fog
- Difficulty concentrating
- Disorganized thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Vision abnormalities
Recovering Compensation for Memory Loss After an Accident
After an accident, you will need to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for damages, such as your medical bills, loss of income, physical pain & suffering, and emotional distress. Generally, the amount you are awarded will depend on how bad the accident was and how severely you were injured.
Essentially, the more your life is affected by the accident and the injury sustained, the more money you will receive. Minor or temporary memory loss, for example, might not win you as much money, but permanent memory loss from something like a severe brain injury might be viewed as a catastrophic injury, which means you deserve more money.
In this case, if the amount awarded is not enough, you can file a lawsuit to recover further compensation. However, you will have to prove that another guilty party is responsible for your injuries and memory loss to win a lawsuit against them. If someone else is not to blame, or if they are only partially to blame, you can still recover damages through insurance, but you will not likely be able to file a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that California is a pure comparative fault state. So if you share in the blame for causing the accident, your settlement will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you are initially awarded $100,000 but you are determined to be 40% at fault for causing the accident, you will only receive $60,000.
No matter the situation, working with an experienced personal injury attorney is always in your best interest. Even if your injuries and memory loss are severe, there is no guarantee you will get a full and fair settlement. This is because insurance companies will often try to deny claims or find ways to reduce amounts awarded to victims.
With an attorney, however, you will have professional representation and can provide more substantial evidence that proves the severity of your injury and ensures you will get the compensation amount you deserve.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
If you are suffering from memory loss after a California car accident, the team at Sally Morin can help. We understand how traumatizing memory loss can be after an accident, even if it is only temporary. Our attorneys will offer you guidance and do everything we can to fight for your rights and ensure you get the full and fair settlement you deserve.
We truly care about the people of California. Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.