When you’ve suffered injuries as a result of a car crash or any other type of accident for which someone else was responsible, getting the compensation you need to cover medical costs and other expenses and damages can potentially be crucial to your healing and your financial well-being. Seeking rightful compensation will likely require you to provide your recollection of events leading up to the accident.
But what if you can’t remember? That can be the case if you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some people who are involved in a collision, serious fall or other sudden event suffer post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). Usually, PTA is temporary. However, it can still take time for memories to return. Until they do, it can be hard to know what’s a real memory and what you may think you remember based on other people’s accounts of the accident.
How does PTA affect memory?
There are various types of PTA. The most common is anterograde amnesia. That’s when a person can recall the time leading up to the event that caused the injury but nothing for some period afterwards. If you have that, you might recall riding your bike and hearing a screech of tires behind you – and then nothing else until you regained consciousness in the hospital.
Another type that’s less common is retrograde amnesia. That’s where a person doesn’t remember the moments leading up to the injury but recalls everything afterwards. If you suffer retrograde amnesia, you might not remember the time between when you got back on your bike after stopping for coffee and when you found yourself lying on the ground.
Some people suffer some amount of anterograde and retrograde amnesia after an accident. It’s also possible to have some memory loss after any head injury without it specifically being PTA. Typically, if that’s the case, memories return and other symptoms dissipate as swelling in the brain goes down.
Be careful what you say
If your memory of events is at all foggy or some memory (whether seconds, minutes or hours) is missing, you shouldn’t be talking to anyone you’re not certain is on your side. That includes the other party’s insurer and legal counsel. Even when talking with law enforcement, it’s crucial not to speculate or agree with them about anything you aren’t certain of. Your best course of action is to get legal guidance as soon as possible to protect your rights and the integrity of your case, as a trusted lawyer is bound to serve your interests.