If you were involved in a serious car crash and are having difficulty remembering parts or even all of it, you’re not alone. Memory loss can occur after a traumatic event like a crash.
Memory loss can also be one symptom of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). If you have a TBI, you may be experiencing issues with your memory as well as a host of other physical and emotional symptoms.
However, problems with memory – including being unable to remember the actual crash or the immediate aftermath – can also result from the way your body and brain deals with trauma (and car crashes are definitely traumatic).
What happens to the brain during trauma?
As one clinical psychologist explains, “The normal thing is that the person doesn’t remember the moment of the accident or right after. That’s because the mind and the body enter a more alert but also more stressed state, with trade-offs that can save your life, but harm your mind’s memory-making abilities.”
Basically, the brain is focused on its flight-or-flight response. The memory-making function takes a back seat to look for a way to escape the impending trauma. Further, the adrenaline that’s generated during a traumatic event can block any information that isn’t needed for someone to survive in the moment.
When memories returns, they may not be accurate
Memories may begin to return as flashbacks and may be distorted. Through therapy and other medical treatment, a person may be able to eventually retrieve accurate memories of what happened.
If you have little or no memory of the car crash that injured you, law enforcement officials and other investigators can likely piece together what happened. It’s important not to provide information to authorities that you’re not certain about. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the aftermath of a crash and work to seek the compensation you need for medical care and other losses from the wreck.