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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

What Is a Contrecoup Injury? An Easy-to-digest Explanation

In the world of injuries, some are simply more of a cause for concern than others. This may be a case of severity, and in other cases, it is just a matter of the potential implications for the victim on their quality of life, whether temporarily or permanently.


A traumatic brain injury falls under the category of worrisome as these happen to be some of the worst kinds of personal injuries to get whenever a car accident occurs. Whether it is a contusion or bruising, the potential for effects such as memory loss, comas, or paralysis are very real.


The focus today will be on the concept of a contrecoup injury. While this may not be a severe traumatic brain injury in many cases, there are others in which the effects it has are detrimental to the injured party's quality of life. An injury law firm in Dallas has more information on how.


How Does a Contrecoup Head Injury Work?

How Does a Contrecoup Head Injury Work?


Unlike a brain edema or a diffuse axonal injury, a contrecoup injury is what you'd call a focal phenomenon. In other words, it is possible to isolate the effect of the head trauma to a single point.


That point in a contrecoup injury will be the opposite side of the impact point. Consider a case in which someone is driving and is rear-ended. The would be a sudden forward momentum of the vehicle, which would cause the body to be forced backward and toward the seat, which means that the person's head would be pushed toward the impact point of the two vehicles.


The problem with this is that the brain, which is suspended in fluid moves slower than the skull does, meaning that it very likely will hit the front of the said skull, which is likely to cause some form of bruising, which would be at the opposite point of head impact.


Does This Differ from a Coup Injury?


There is a counterpart to the contrecoup injury, which is known as a coup injury. The difference here is that the brain will be injured on the same side as the point of trauma. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys also can explain the catastrophic injury legal definition.


Instead of being rear-ended, imagine that the driver of a vehicle collides with a vehicle or other object head-on. Now, instead of being flung backward, the body is suddenly propelled forward. This makes it very likely for the person's head to hit the steering wheel.


The brain will then follow suit, being forced toward the front of the skull and hitting it in the same region as the impact point.


What Kinds of Damages Can Come from a Contrecoup Injury?


Economic Damages

As indicated before, it's very difficult to tell exactly what kind of effect a contrecoup injury will have on someone and the extent to which their personal life will be affected. In any case, the damage can be incredibly severe, causing the victim's overall quality of life to diminish greatly.


Some of these effects will be temporary, while others may stick around for a lifetime. This is why blunt force trauma that affects the brain has a reputation for leading to some of the worst economic damages possible.


It stands to reason that medical costs, for example, tend to be very significant. After all, there are the initial costs and there are potentially the long-standing ones such as therapy and medication.


Economic damages are accurately measurable because there are documented costs associated with them that can be sought in the course of pursuing compensation from a negligent party. Some of the typical examples include:


  • Lost income

  • Medical expenses

  • Disability costs

  • Lost earning potential


Non-economic Damages

Valuing non-economic damages, while not impossible, is notably more difficult. That's because there aren't bills or receipts that provide a figure as a point of reference. Here, the concern is more about getting compensation for the changes in quality of life.


Therefore, the idea here will be to try to place a monetary value on the loss of enjoyment, physical pain and mental anguish, ruined relationships and social lives, etc.


Traumatic Brain Injuries Often Introduce Long Term Costs


When there is a severe injury of this nature, the financial difficulties can be far-reaching and can be present for some time. This could reach into the realm of millions of dollars throughout a lifetime. After all, people could find themselves with permanent disabilities after this kind of experience.


This may mean that they must attempt to relearn basic skills where possible such as speaking, swallowing, etc. In some cases, a new way to approach these needs must be trained as the initial one is no longer possible. Of course, there are also cases where even with this training, the affected party just cannot return to the way they were before.


All this training, rehabilitation, and dependence on professional assistance comes with costs that can really stack up.


Common Personal Injury Contrecoup Injury Scenarios

Slip and Fall Accident


Slip and fall accidents can be very common and can see someone falling and having their head collide with a surface or heavy object. Imagine slipping on a hard floor and having the head hit the said floor. Reasonably, this can cause the brain to bounce, which introduces the possibility of a contrecoup injury happening.


Of course, this can all be taking place because the owner of the property demonstrated some level of negligence, which led to the fall in the first place. This means that the recommended course of action would be to file a personal injury claim to get the responsible person's insurance company to provide compensation.


Car Accident

This was probably easy to infer based on the example prevented during the explanation of what contrecoup injuries are. Understandably, car accidents are one of the most common reasons that there is some kind of blunt force trauma experienced in the skull region, which means that the brain will end up rattling in the skull and hitting the opposite side from the point of trauma.


Coup and Contrecoup Injuries Can Happen Simultaneously


This is what is known as a coup-contrecoup injury, and it is really the point at which the effect of the phenomenon can get even worse. Recall that a coup injury occurs when the impact point is the same side of the skull that the brain will hit.


Well, in going back to the head-on collision example, sometimes it happens with a little more force. Therefore, the head will still hit the steering wheel as before. However, the force will be so strong that there will be a whiplash effect that actually causes the brain to hit the other side of the skull too.


What usually happens when there is a coup or contrecoup injury is that after the brain hits the skull, it will reset itself to its central position. However, with a coup-contrecoup brain injury, instead of returning to the central point, the brain will be pushed past it and hit the other side of the skull, after which it will return to that point.


What Influences the Typical Symptoms That May Be Faced?


There has been a lot of talk about the fact that the effects of these kinds of brain injuries can be far-reaching. What determines the kinds of symptoms that may be faced though? Well, coup-contrecoup brain injuries will affect the brain based on which region(s) may be involved in the striking and bruising process.


A coup or contrecoup injury will only affect one of the four regions, while coup-contrecoup injuries will affect two of them that may or may not be exactly opposite to each other.


There is the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and the temporal lobe. Each of these regions has functions that it is primarily responsible for and may also take part in functions with a secondary role to other regions.


The effects of these kinds of injuries will depend on which roles the affected point(s) may be responsible for.


Contrecoup injury Diagnosis


Scanning technology will typically be used to identify the extent of the damage that a contrecoup injury may cause.


Treating a Contrecoup Brain Injury

Treating a Contrecoup Brain Injury


The treatment plan for these kinds of injuries is highly dependent on the way things play out. Some cases are so severe that there may be neurosurgery performed, just to reduce the amount of bleeding or swelling on the brain.


Apart from this, there may be rehabilitative treatment that is introduced to address the different effects that victims may face. Some of the most well-known interventions to this end are:


  1. Speech therapy

  2. Occupational therapy

  3. Cognitive training

  4. Physical therapy


Schedule a Free Consultation with an Outstanding Dallas Personal Injury Attorney Today!


Whenever a contrecoup injury occurs it introduces the potential for what may be a very difficult time ahead, which is something that no one should ever have to deal with because someone else was negligent.


If you have found yourself a victim of this kind of occurrence in Dallas, you may be entitled to compensation. However, you need an attorney who is willing to go to war for you! Schedule a free consultation today with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys!

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