If you’re told that you or a loved one suffered a “coup-contrecoup” brain injury in a car crash, it’s understandable that you’ve never heard of such a thing. Coup-contrecoup means “blow-counterblow” in French, and that’s exactly what causes these injuries.
A coup-contrecoup injury is actually two separate injuries caused by the same incident. There’s damage to the side of the brain that experienced the impact and also to the opposite side. It’s typically caused by a serious blow – for example if you’re head hits the steering wheel or dashboard in a car crash.
Two different regions of the brain may be involved. Because each region is responsible for different things, and they often work together, the effects of this type of injury can be far-reaching and can seriously affect a person’s ability to function.
The effects can be wide-ranging
Depending on which parts of the brain are injured, a person can experience a wide range of symptoms, including (just to name a relatively few):
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
- Difficulty with hand-eye coordination
- Vision problems (including partial blindness)
- Hearing loss and difficulty understanding language
- Difficulty recognizing objects, faces and/or words
- Severe headaches
The treatment will also depend on which parts of the brain were injured and what areas a person is having problems with. It can involve physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as cognitive training. All of these can help stimulate the brain and help it re-wire itself.
A coup-contrecoup brain injury can affect a person’s ability to work, study and even care for themselves and others. All of this, as well as the cost of the medical treatment and rehabilitation, must be considered if the crash was caused by another driver. It may be necessary to have legal guidance to help ensure that you get the settlement you need.