What is post-traumatic amnesia?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2022 | Motor vehicle wrecks |

A traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is not uncommon in a car crash, can cause a wide range of symptoms. It depends in large part on how seriously the brain is injured and also on what part of the brain is injured. 

Different parts of the brain are responsible for everything from language to motor skills to sensory abilities to thought and much more. A brain injury can even cause significant personality changes.

One of the most frightening effects of a brain injury can be post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). In most cases, it is temporary, but not always. There are two types of PTA. Both can be unsettling after a crash when a person is trying to piece together what happened, but large parts of the puzzle are missing.

The two types of post-traumatic amnesia

The most common type of PTA is anterograde amnesia. That’s when a person cannot remember what happened after the moment of injury. For example, they may recall that they moved forward into an intersection when the light turned green and were suddenly struck from the side. However, they have no memory of what happened after that or how they got to the hospital. 

The less common type of PTA is retrograde amnesia. This is where the memories of what occurred just before the injury are lost but not the memories of what happened afterward. Using the prior example, a person who suffered retrograde amnesia likely won’t remember how they ended up at that intersection or being hit by another car. However, they remember being trapped in the car until first responders could get them out. 

It’s also possible to suffer both types of amnesia. That can be truly frightening. 

If a person is suffering any type or amount of memory loss from the time before, during or after the crash, it’s important not to try to give their side of events to an insurance company or anyone representing the other driver. It’s also crucial to be careful when talking to law enforcement. 

The best course of action to protect your right to compensation if the crash was caused by another driver is to seek legal guidance as soon as possible.