Memory loss due to a brain injury after a car accident is all too common. It might be short-term and due to anxiety, an adrenaline rush, or turmoil during the event. But memory loss can also be a sign of a serious, longer-lasting injury. It can change your life and that of your family. Considering the possible consequences, how might this memory loss occur? 

car accident head pain

Hitting your head is the most obvious cause of brain injuries in an accident. The impact can shake the brain with enough force to cause a concussion, leading to short term amnesia. Even low-speed impacts can cause a brain injury. However, it’s important to note that research shows that hitting your head isn’t necessary for a car accident to cause a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. Damage to the hippocampus (the part of the brain that forms and stores memories) of any kind can lead to longer-term memory loss.

One other major source of post-accident memory loss is trauma and anguish. Car accidents can be emotionally devastating, and people may unconsciously avoid processing their trauma. This can lead to dissociation and losing memories of the accident. Considering these multiple causes, it’s helpful to understand the types of amnesia that can result.


The most common type of memory loss after car crashes is anterograde amnesia. Someone experiencing this might be unable to form new memories or have a great deal of difficulty doing so. This can be a symptom of an underlying brain injury. This is also related to post-traumatic amnesia, or memory loss of the period immediately after your car accident. Common symptoms include

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar people

Retrograde amnesia, unlike anterograde, involves losing memories from before an auto accident. This usually involves losing facts about your life instead of skills you know. Due to your TBI, you might remember how to drive, but not when you bought your car or recognize it as yours. Regardless of the type of memory loss or the severity, treatment must begin as soon as possible.

woman getting ct scan

Always see a doctor immediately after a car accident, especially if you’re experiencing any memory loss. CT scans are often performed at the ER if someone reports a head injury and memory issues. If their doctors suspect a brain injury, MRIs and EEGs might also be ordered. They might not identify the cause right away, but the tests are necessary when dealing with amnesia due to the possibility of a TBI.

There are also medications that can ease the symptoms of memory loss. Surgery may treat brain injuries like swelling of the brain that can affect memory. You’ll also need to remain mentally active, challenging yourself in ways that strengthen your brain’s ability to form and maintain memories. Ultimately, and tragically, there is no guaranteed cure for memory loss, especially when it occurs due to a TBI. That’s one of many reasons why you’ll want a good car accident attorney at your side when pursuing your personal injury claim.

If you want to make a claim for memory loss, you’ll need a good accident injury lawyer working for you. They’ll help you find the right doctor for your type of memory loss and brain injury, and work with them to monitor your healing. Once you’re done with treatment, they’ll also gather testimony from any necessary expert witnesses. This will allow your attorney to demonstrate how severe your injury was, and how amnesia affects your daily life.

Any form of memory loss can limit your quality of life, and you may never fully recover. While your attorney will try to settle without going to court, a good car accident lawyer will take your case to trial if necessary. Many people have friends and family suffering from memory loss. Your trial lawyer would tell your story in such a way that every member of the jury could put themselves in your shoes. If they can relate your suffering from your TBI to their experiences, they’re more likely to decide in your favor.

Memory loss is a complicated issue, with many potential causes. Treatment is long and challenging. Memories may never fully return. We here at Park Chenaur and Associates have many years of experience fighting for our clients experiencing memory loss following their accidents. We’ll do everything we can to tell your story, to get you the justice you deserve.

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