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Why can car accidents cause post-traumatic amnesia?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Car Accidents

Car accidents are frightening, and the physical injuries they cause are often clear. But what about their impact on the mind? One scary outcome of a crash can be post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). This is a temporary state of confusion where a person cannot remember events that happened after the injury. They may also have difficulty forming new memories.

This gap in memory can be very scary. If you have been affected by this condition, you may wonder why you can’t recall your accident. Why exactly do car accidents cause post-traumatic amnesia?

The force behind the memory loss: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Most of the time, the reason for post-traumatic amnesia is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). When a car accident happens, the sudden impact can make the brain move rapidly within the skull. This forceful movement can damage some brain cells. They can interfere with the brain’s neural connections and cause internal bleeding. As a result, the car accident victim may develop temporary memory loss.

Here’s how TBIs can lead to PTA:

  • Disrupted communication: Did you know that memories are formed through the transmission of signals between brain cells? A TBI can disrupt these connections. This may make it difficult to make new memories. Memory loss of events that happened before the accident can also occur.
  • Biochemical imbalance: The accident can cause biochemical changes within the brain. This can include the release of chemicals that temporarily disable the hippocampus. This is an important area of the brain for forming memories.

How long post-traumatic amnesia can last varies from person to person. It can last a few minutes, weeks or even months.

Post-traumatic amnesia can be scary to experience after a car accident. However, understanding what causes it is the first step towards recovery. If you’ve sustained a TBI in a car crash because of another driver’s negligence, it may benefit you to learn more about how you can seek compensation for your injuries.


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