In the moments following a car crash, you may feel overwhelmed, confused, and even in shock. Because it can happen so fast, it’s normal if you can’t remember the details of a car accident. However, it can be concerning if you cannot recall anything about the crash or experience memory loss after the car accident. You may have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or another serious injury requiring timely medical attention.
The legal team at Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer is committed to helping accident victims get the medical care and financial compensation they deserve. Our firm can help you find the specialized medical attention you need, negotiate with the insurance companies, and pursue the full amount you’re entitled to. Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable Phoenix car accident attorney during a free case review.
Is It Normal to Have Memory Loss After a Car Accident?
A serious car crash can be a traumatic experience. The brain sometimes responds to trauma by focusing on survival at the cost of some memories. This can help someone in a dangerous situation, such as a car accident, find a way to escape. But according to Smithsonian Magazine, it can also make it hard for them to piece together exactly what happened. That means some memory loss following a car crash is to be expected.
However, if a car accident victim can no longer remember important life events, family members, or vital facts, they may be suffering from amnesia. This can be a symptom of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other serious condition.
Some of the potential causes of memory loss from a car accident include the following:
- Head injuries and TBIs — Head injuries such as concussions or physical damage to the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory, may affect memory.
- Hypoxia or anoxia — A decrease or cutoff in oxygen flow to the brain may occur due to smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation from car damage or fires, physical constriction of the respiratory system, or cardiac or respiratory arrests.
- Emotional trauma and distress — Mental stress can cause the mind to reject memories from frightening or traumatic experiences.
Different Types of Amnesia or Forgetfulness After a Car Accident
A car accident can result in several types of amnesia, which can even be co-occurring. These include the following:
- Anterograde amnesia— This happens when a person cannot form new memories, although they may remember everything leading up to the injury. It can be temporary or permanent. It is often the result of brain trauma, such as a blow to the head.
- Retrograde amnesia — When a person cannot remember events leading up to an injury but can remember what happened after they were injured, they may have retrograde amnesia. Sometimes, a person can experience both anterograde and retrograde amnesia simultaneously.
- Post-traumatic amnesia— This is common after a car accident and is usually temporary, depending on the severity of the injuries. It often occurs after someone has been unconscious or in a coma. Post-traumatic amnesia can indicate a TBI following an accident.
Symptoms of amnesia or memory loss to be aware of following a car crash include the following:
- Difficulty learning and retaining new information
- Difficulty remembering previously familiar events and information
- Experiencing false memories, which can be invented memories or real memories from the wrong time or place
- Inability to recognize faces or locations
- Difficulty concentrating
- Cloudy or foggy thinking
- Impaired short-term memory
- Total or partial loss of memory
Getting a Monetary Settlement for Memory Loss After a Phoenix Car Accident
Suffering from amnesia or memory loss after a car crash can impact your physical and emotional well-being. You may face overwhelming medical bills from doctor’s visits and tests, lost wages if your memory loss prevents you from working, and emotional distress from forgetting important events or people in your life. In short, the consequences can be devastating.
If you were injured in a car accident someone else caused, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other accident-related losses. This can include money for:
- Medical treatment, including hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, prescription and over-the-counter medications, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and related expenses
- Incidental costs, such as mileage from traveling to and from the doctor
- Lost wages if your amnesia prevents you from working
- Emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life
Your options for pursuing compensation after a car accident are typically through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Most cases involving injuries from a car accident are resolved through negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company and do not go to court. However, you may file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to hold the at-fault party liable if an insurer does not offer a fair settlement.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit for Memory Loss After a Car Accident?
Keep in mind that there is a deadline for filing a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. In Arizona, you typically have only two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit — with limited exceptions. If you miss this deadline, you likely will lose your opportunity to seek compensation in civil court.
While you could still potentially secure compensation through an insurance claim, your ability to negotiate with the insurance company will be limited without the threat of a lawsuit to back it up. This time limit is why it is crucial to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can manage important deadlines in your case.
Contact a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer Today for Help
If you or someone you love has experienced amnesia or memory loss after a car accident, reach out to the legal team with Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer today. We have a strong track record of helping people in your position get the money and justice they deserve and are eager to put this experience to work for you. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Phoenix.