What you should know about post-traumatic amnesia after an injury

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2023 | Serious Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur when someone strikes their head against a hard surface — or something hard strikes your head. Whether you were in a vehicle crash, you had a slip-and-fall accident or you were involved in a workplace accident, if your head was involved, it’s crucial to have the appropriate medical tests done for a concussion, even if you didn’t lose consciousness. 

A TBI can cause a wide array of symptoms, from headaches to vision or hearing loss to behavioral changes and more. One symptom that some people experience is memory loss, or amnesia. Like most of the symptoms of a TBI, amnesia is usually temporary. It results from swelling inside the brain. As that swelling dissipates, memory generally returns.

It can take some time, however, and some work. Singer Amy Grant, who suffered a concussion when she fell off her bike last year, has talked about the memory loss she suffered and her efforts to get it back. These included starting a journal that she titled “Writing to Remember.”

Types of post-traumatic amnesia

People who suffer amnesia after a TBI (known as post-traumatic amnesia or PTA) typically have one of two kinds: anterograde and retrograde. Let’s look at those.

Anterograde is the more common type. Someone with anterograde amnesia will have difficulty remembering the events immediately after their injury. They may have no memory of being taken by the ambulance to the hospital or even their early days of recovery.

Those with retrograde amnesia will have little or no memory of the events leading up to the injury. They may not remember exactly what happened, but recall being on the ground and attended to by first responders.

Be careful about telling your side if you have PTA

If you’re suffering from memory loss after suffering a TBI – even if it’s just some fogginess in your memory or minor gaps – it may not be in your best interests to recount your recollection of what happened to law enforcement, insurance representatives or anyone representing any other party who may be at fault. Be careful relying on anyone else’s account of what happened if it’s not your memory. You may not be able to correct the record later when your memory returns.

That’s just one reason why it’s wise to have experienced legal guidance to protect your rights and your ability to seek the compensation you need and deserve from those who bear responsibility for your injuries.