Memory Loss After a Car Accident


Cassandra Nguy

It’s common to endure headaches and bodily pain during a vehicle collision. However, experiencing memory loss after a car accident may indicate a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). Don’t underplay the effects of a TBI on your physical health, and seek medical assistance as soon as you can.

If you were involved in a car accident, getting help is essential, no matter how minor your injuries may be. You may show symptoms of memory loss over time as indicators usually occur over weeks or months. After seeking medical help, you can file a claim with an auto accident attorney to get compensated for your losses.

If the accident wasn’t your fault, it should not be right for you to pay expensive medical fees to recover from your injury. An auto accident attorney can represent your case while forcing the negligent party to pay for your losses.

Your chances of receiving compensation may be much higher with an auto attorney, so don’t wait until it’s too late.

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Types of Amnesia From a Car Accident

There are three types of memory loss from a car accident you may experience—anterograde amnesia, post-traumatic amnesia, and retrograde amnesia.

  • Anterograde amnesia—This occurs when victims cannot retain new information or memories after the source of amnesia. In extreme cases, you lose the ability to gain information, which is rare and often temporary. This amnesia is usually caused by damaging the memory-making functions of the brain.
  • Retrograde amnesia—A form of amnesia where victims cannot remember past events. Studies have shown that anterograde and retrograde amnesia are often found together depending on the extent of damages on the brain. (Smith CN, Frascino JC, Hopkins RO, Squire LR, Nov 2013)
  • Post-traumatic amnesia—A temporary confused state where you forget things within minutes, hours, or months. It is not a total loss of memory, but there may be gaps when recalling events immediately after the car crash.

Post-traumatic amnesia would fall under the category of short-term memory loss after a car accident. Common symptoms may include asking questions that have already been answered, confusion, or severe unawareness of one’s surroundings.

Retrograde and anterograde amnesia falls under long-term memory loss after an accident, where victims cannot remember long-term events like the names of family members or certain hobbies they used to enjoy.

What to Do When Suffering Memory Loss After a Car Accident

If you or a loved one are suffering memory loss after a car accident, take these steps as soon as possible:

  1. Go to the hospital immediately. You may not know you are suffering from memory loss, so a doctor that can diagnose your injuries is key. Any sign of a TBI like a headache or nausea is a valid reason to visit a physician. The quicker you get medical help, the better you’ll get treated for all life-threatening injuries.
  2. Get medical treatment. Request for treatment and diagnostic imaging to detect if you suffered memory loss after the car accident. They may request you to take tests, often a CT scan, so your doctor can prescribe your treatment.
  3. Request early documentation. Evidence like medical documents and police reports prove to insurance companies that your car accident caused your memory loss. You need evidence to prove your amnesia was caused by the car accident. Without that, your legal claim may not hold in court.
  4. Inform your auto insurance company about your memory loss. There may be restrictions in getting compensation for no-fault states unless your injury is severe or permanent. Mentioning the symptoms of your injury, like amnesia, may help bolster your case against the at-fault driver.
  5. Speak with an auto accident attorney. You’ll need an experienced attorney to help you estimate your claim’s worth while proving the other drivers’ negligence. Even if you’re partially at-fault, you may still qualify for compensation if you live in a comparative negligence state.
  6. Do not sign settlements, releases, or waivers relating to your car accident. Until you’ve spoken with your attorney and they’ve reviewed all your documents, don’t sign anything by your auto insurance company, the at-fault driver’s auto insurer, or other insurance companies.

How to Prove Memory Loss From a Car Crash

Proving your memory loss from a car crash requires the early documentation you requested during hospitalization. You may also need to request results from blood tests, brain-imaging scans, and other tests referred to by your doctor. You can also retrieve summary visits, dates, and times of your treatments from your licensed physician.

Also, you can provide police reports detailing the incident and record eyewitness statements during the incident. Photos and videos of the scene may help prove the car accident caused your amnesia.

Can You Sue for Memory Loss After a Car Accident?

Yes, you can sue for memory loss after a car accident if you believe the other driver was responsible for causing your injury. Depending on your state, the legal process may differ due to varied state car accident laws.

So, you must have a strong case if you choose to sue for your memory loss. Seek an experienced auto accident attorney to understand your rights and the rules within your state.

Types of Damages You May Sue For

The types of damages you may sue for when suffering memory loss after a car accident are the economic and non-economic damages listed below.

Lost Wages

You may not be able to work while you recover from your amnesia, causing you to lose wages as a result. A successful car accident claim may reimburse you for those lost wages while away from your job.

Medical Costs

Hospital bills and medical treatment cost thousands of dollars to treat, especially after suffering amnesia in a car accident. Insurance companies may not provide the full coverage you need to pay all your medical costs. Therefore, you may sue the negligent driver for the medical expenses left over from your treatment.

Future Earnings

Loss of future earnings or the inability to work in the future may cause you to lose any wages, bonuses, social security, or benefits earned if the accident didn’t occur. To prove this, you need to show:

  1. How long you were away from your job, and
  2. The amount you could’ve gained if the injury didn’t happen.

You may suffer memory loss so severe that you’re permanently unable to return to your previous position. In that case, you may qualify for social security benefits to receive some sort of funding while recovering. Your chances of receiving funds for your injuries tends to increase with legal representation from an attorney.

Pain and Suffering

These are the non-economic damages you’ve suffered through as a direct result of the car accident. Some examples of pain and suffering are:

  • Bodily injury
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement or permanent scarring
  • Reduced quality of life

There’s no defined amount in regards to the pain and suffering you feel from your amnesia. You’ll need an experienced auto accident attorney to estimate the amount you deserve for your pain and loss.

How to Recover From Amnesia After a Car Accident

Unfortunately, there’s no specific cure-all remedy for amnesia after a car accident. Each case is different, and depending on the type of brain injury, timing will vary. The best thing to do is follow your doctor in getting the proper treatment. Hopefully, you’ll be able to recover from your amnesia over time.

Even though there are no specific treatments for amnesia, there are preventative steps you can take while recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

Know Whether You Qualify For a Claim with LegalASAP

If you are suffering from memory loss after a car accident, contact LegalASAP and know whether you qualify for a claim. LegalASAP has branches across the United States and a network of thousands of attorneys willing to help with your claim.

Memory loss may be severe depending on the case, and we’d like to help you in recovering from your pain and suffering.

Fill out this free short consultation form, and we can help you connect with someone to help you with your claim. If you have any questions or inquiries, call our 24/7 hotline at 888-927-3080.

Cassandra Nguy

Cassandra Tran Nguy is a legal writer living in Los Angeles, California. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in English Creative Writing and a minor in Marketing. Visit her online profile at