What is amnesia?


Car accidents can cause all sorts of serious injuries. One common type of injury is head injuries. When a person suffers a head injury, the person can have a variety of symptoms, one such symptom is amnesia.

Amnesia is a medical condition where a person losses specific information. While amnesia is often portrayed in the media as people losing their self-identity, this generally is not the case in real life. Instead, people lose specific memories, facts, information and experiences, but still understand who they are. In some cases, people know who they are but have difficulty retaining new memories or learning new information.

Amnesia can be either temporary or permanent depending on the situation and the severity of the injury to the brain. In many cases, people have the most trouble with short-term memory. In these cases, people cannot retain new information and make new memories, but can and do remember more distant memories. Additionally, amnesia does not generally affect a person's ability to learn new skills -- like riding a bike -- or a person's ability to understand spoken or written words.

Amnesia can be caused by a variety of things including a lack of oxygen to the brain, a stroke or head trauma. Often times, head injuries -- like a concussion -- are not severe enough to cause serious amnesia but some memory loss is possible. Even with mild memory loss people's quality of life can suffer.

When a person suffers from a brain injury or disorder -- like amnesia -- following a car accident, it is important that the person understands the legal consequences. If a negligent driver caused the accident, an attorney may be able to help the person recover compensation.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Amnesia," accessed Jan. 25, 2015

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