Severe head trauma and brain injury often cause short-term and long-term memory loss. A person who suffers a moderate to severe brain injury may not even remember the incident that caused the injury or the events leading up to or following the injury.
Head Trauma and Brain Injury
Severe head trauma is caused by a blow to the head. It can result from a car accident, a fall, or intentional force. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow to the head. A brain injury may or may not lead to loss of consciousness, but it can cause changes in physical, cognitive, and emotional behaviors. Short-term effects include memory loss, as well as irritability, headaches, changes in vision and smell, facial pain, dizziness, and seizures. Symptoms usually develop within days of the injury and last for weeks or months.
Short-Term and Long-Term Memory Loss
Memory loss and traumatic brain injury go hand in hand. Traumatic brain injury can damage parts of the brain that control memory and learning. It can cause short-term memory loss that impacts daily life, as well as long-term memory loss that impacts past and future memories. With TBI, short-term memory loss is more common and includes common problems:
- Forgetting the details of a conversation
- Forgetting the car keys
- Losing track of the time, date, or day of the week
- Asking the same questions again and again
- Forgetting the way home or to work
- Forgetting what happened yesterday
Although TBI affects new memories more than old ones, people with TBI often have difficulty retrieving correct information when needed. This could mean recognizing familiar faces, but failing to recall names or remembering to take medications, but forgetting which ones.
Memory of the Injury
People with TBI commonly have no memory of how they sustained their injury. This type of memory loss is called post-traumatic amnesia and can last a few minutes or several weeks or months, depending on the severity of the brain injury. Most people who suffer post-traumatic amnesia never remember the details of their injury, since their brain never stored it as a memory.
If a traumatic brain injury is caused by another person’s negligent or reckless actions, filing a personal injury lawsuit can result in an award for injuries that include payment for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and in some cases punitive damages.