Brain trauma is a common injury sustained in motor vehicle accidents, slips & falls, bicycle crashes, and many other types of accidents. Brain injuries range from mild to severe. In some cases, a head injury could result in permanent disabilities and impairments.

Coup Contrecoup brain injuries are a type of traumatic brain injury. They occur when the head is struck, causing injury to the brain at the site of the impact. The force of the impact causes the brain to shift and strike the opposite side of the skull, causing a second brain injury directly across from the initial impact.

What is the Difference Between a Coup and Contrecoup Brain Injury?

Coup brain injuries are non-penetrating brain injuries. They result from a blow to the head, such as a car accident victim hitting his head on the window or the steering wheel. A coup injury could occur when a person falls and strikes her head on a hard surface.

The location of the brain injury determines whether the brain injury is diagnosed as a coup, contrecoup, or coup-contrecoup injury.

Coup Brain Injury

The damage in a coup brain injury is directly below the site of the initial impact. The surface of the head may have cuts or bruises, but it is not necessary to have any outward sign of injury for a coup injury to exist.

The severity of a coup brain injury can be mild. However, a coup injury may also involve severe traumatic brain injury, including bleeding in the brain and significant brain swelling.

Contrecoup Brain Injury

An impact to the head can cause the brain to shift within the skull. The brain strikes the opposite side of the brain, causing damage to the brain directly across from the initial impact.

Contrecoup brain injuries can be challenging to diagnose because doctors may focus on the site of the initial impact. The injury on the opposite side of the brain can be missed. Without treatment, a severe contrecoup brain injury could be life-threatening.

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury

As explained above, a coup-contrecoup brain injury damages both sides of the brain. The injuries are directly across from each other.

The severity of the two brain injuries is not necessarily the same. One area may be far more severe than the other area. If both brain injuries are not treated, the person may suffer a disabling impairment or could die.

A Blow to the Head Should Always be Viewed as Serious

Any head injury requires medical care. Even a mild brain injury could have catastrophic consequences. Only a trained medical professional can diagnose a traumatic brain injury correctly. In many cases, CT scans, x-rays, and MRIs are required to diagnose a brain injury after an accident.

If a brain injury is not diagnosed and treated, the person could suffer from a variety of injuries and complications. Some of the effects of brain damage include:

  • Reduced or impaired cognitive functions, including loss of speech and problems with perceptions, memory, attention, judgment, planning, and learning
  • Loss of sensory function, including blindness and deafness
  • Increased risk of developing certain diseases, including dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease
  • Problems with balance, walking, coordination, strength, and flexibility
  • Emotional and mental disorders
  • Inability or difficulty performing activities of daily living (ADLs), including bathing, feeding, dressing, and grooming
  • Persistent vegetative state

Therefore, it is important to seek immediate medical care after a head injury. If you experience any symptoms of brain injury, contact your doctor or go to the emergency room. Delayed treatment puts you at a higher risk of developing more severe conditions.

What is the Cost of a Brain Injury?

The cost of a brain injury depends on the severity of the brain injury and the impairments caused by the brain injury. Some individuals who experience a mild traumatic brain injury heal after a few weeks of rest.

However, a severe traumatic brain injury may require intensive medical treatment, including surgery, medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and other forms of therapy.

In addition to the medical cost of a brain injury, a person may have substantial loss of income. If the person cannot return to work, the loss of income over a lifetime could equal millions of dollars. Even if the person can work, he may experience a decrease in earning potential that could equal millions of dollars over his lifetime.

Some brain injury victims require personal care for the rest of their lives. Personal care at home or in an assisted living facility or nursing home can be costly.

Additionally, a brain injury victim may experience chronic physical pain and overwhelming emotional distress. Those damages also add to the value of a brain injury claim.

An accident victim deserves to receive compensation for damages and injuries. A brain injury lawyer can help victims seek the compensation they deserve from the party or parties responsible for causing the brain injury.