Memory Loss After a Car Accident: Causes and Legal Options

Posted on Thu Mar 04, 2021

When a careless driver crashes into your vehicle, they take away your physical safety and sense of wellbeing. But what if the accident they caused took something more from you? What if your car accident took away your memory?

Sadly, memory loss after car accidents happens all the time. From not being able to remember the accident itself to struggling to form new memories or even losing old memories, this is a common and tragic result of driver negligence.

To learn more about the causes of accident-related memory loss and your legal options, keep reading and contact the Alabama car accident lawyers at Warren & Simpson.


Most often, memory loss after a car accident is due to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). While TBIs are serious, they are not the only cause of memory trouble after an auto accident. Below, we discuss five types of car accident-related amnesia.


Extreme trauma, such as the trauma from a serious car accident, can cause dissociative amnesia. This type of car accident memory loss causes your mind to avoid processing thoughts and information that recall memories of the trauma. Blocking this information can cause you to be unable to recall events or even personal information like your own address.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, dissociative amnesia occurs in 1 percent of men and 2.6 percent of women. These numbers may sound small, but for victims, this condition can make everyday activities like driving a car impossible. It's essential to see a doctor and receive a formal diagnosis after the accident. Your personal injury lawyer can use this documentation to bolster your case.


Head and back injuries are some of the most common effects of car accidents. While both can cause immense pain, head injuries like concussions can lead to short-term memory loss after car accidents.

A concussion is a type of TBI caused by a severe impact to the head. In a car accident, this could come from your head hitting the dashboard or windshield. The impact jostles the brain and can damage parts of it. This can cause memory loss in the hours and days before and after the accident.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 288,000 brain injuries were diagnosed in 2014. And vehicle accidents were the second most common cause of TBI-related hospital visits.


The part of the brain responsible for memory is the hippocampus. Damage to the hippocampus can cause long-term memory loss.

Sadly, if your car accident caused a brain injury severe enough to damage your hippocampus, your lost memories may never return. And the damage will cause you to have trouble forming new memories from now on.

According to the Brain Injury Alliance, more than 5.3 million Americans live with a long-term brain injury that causes them to need help with daily activities. Because this type of injury is so severe, the average settlement amount that victims can obtain is higher. A skilled personal injury lawyer will develop the best plan of action for recovering damages.


Even short-term memory loss after a car accident can wreak havoc on your life. Not being able to remember how to get to work or your home can harm your mental health and financial stability.

This condition happens to countless car accident victims every year. Anterograde amnesia, characterized by an inability to form new memories for a short period of time, is one of the most common indicators of a brain injury, one study found. With more than 20 percent of TBIs caused by a car accident, short-term anterograde amnesia is a common problem for auto accident victims.

If you experience symptoms of short-term memory loss, make sure that you or a loved one keeps a record of these instances. These specific examples of how the injury has impacted you can be beneficial when recovering damages.


Retrograde amnesia causes you to lose memories you had before the car accident. Caused by a severe blow to the head, this type of memory loss after a car accident can be short-term or long-term. Either way, it can be incredibly serious. Victims can forget who their loved ones are, how to do their jobs, and even how to care for themselves.

While long-term retrograde amnesia after a car accident is not common, one study found that up to 20 percent of people with mild TBIs may experience amnesia for longer than six months. This type of amnesia robs victims of past memories and can have long-lasting impacts.


Whether you have long-term or short-term memory loss after a car accident, you deserve compensation if the crash was someone else's fault. Luckily, Alabama law allows victims of other people's negligence to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation.

Filing a lawsuit for memory loss after a car accident is not going to be easy, though. You may be owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the at-fault party and insurer are not going to want to pay it. They will try anything to avoid giving you what you're owed.

A trusted personal injury lawyer from Warren & Simpson won't let them get by with that. With more than 2,000 cases won and decades of combined experience, we can build a compelling case for why you deserve compensation. And we will see the insurance company’s tricks coming from miles away.

To schedule a consultation with our firm, fill out our online contact form or call us at 256-539-7575.