Woman looking at x-rays of coup and contrecoup brain injuries.

What Are Coup and Contrecoup Brain Injuries?

Brain injuries are common accident injuries. You can sustain a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident, fall, workplace accident, pedestrian accident, sports injury, dog attack, and many other personal injury accidents. The type and severity of your brain injury often dictate whether you may suffer long-term consequences. It can help to understand some of the medical terms your doctor and California personal injury attorney may use to describe your brain injury, including coup and contrecoup brain injuries.

Coup and Contrecoup Brain Injuries

Coup and contrecoup are medical terms used to describe the area of the brain injured relative to the point of impact. You may hear the term used as coup-contrecoup brain injury.

When the head is struck, the damage to the brain at the site of impact is referred to as a coup lesion. However, the brain usually jolts or bounces away from the site of the impact causing the brain to strike the skull on the opposite side. The bruise or damage on the opposite side of the impact is called a contrecoup lesion. 

In addition to coup-contrecoup brain injuries, the jarring from the impact can also cause substantial damage to the brain from shearing or tearing of the tissue, lining, and blood vessels. In some cases, a brain injury could lead to brain swelling or bleeding within the brain. Permanent brain damage is possible, which could result in the loss of one or more functions. A coma or permanent vegetative state is also possible in severe brain injury cases.

Symptoms of Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury can heal and a person can make a complete recovery. However, some individuals could sustain permanent disabilities and impairments because of a brain injury. It is important to be evaluated by a medical professional after an accident in which you may have sustained a brain injury. It is important to remember that you could sustain a brain injury without a direct blow to the head. Any symptoms of brain injuries should be reported to your doctor immediately.

Symptoms of coup-contrecoup brain injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sensory changes
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Concentration and balance problems
  • Paralysis
  • Vision or speech impairments
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Problems swallowing
  • Headaches
  • Confusion 
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Body tingling or numbness
  • Lethargy

The symptoms of a brain injury vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury, the area of the brain injured, and the person. It is always best to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible or if you notice any unexplained symptoms. 

Contrecoup Injuries Can Be Overlooked

Coup injuries are typically identified because the person can pinpoint the approximate place of impact, or there may be external injuries that identify where the impact to the head occurred. However, contrecoup injuries are internal. They can be overlooked. If not diagnosed timely, a contrecoup brain injury could result in long-term complications and conditions, including the risk of permanent impairment and death. 

Coup-contrecoup brain injuries affect both sides of the brain. The chance of developing a life-altering condition is high for many victims. You and your physician can discuss the various risks and options for treatment to give you the best chance for a full recovery from your brain injury. 

Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney for Help

Seeking medical care is the first step in recovering from a brain injury. However, brain injuries can result in substantial financial expenses and losses. If another party is responsible for causing your injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, and financial damages. 

A California personal injury attorney can begin investigating your claim and gathering evidence to file a personal injury claim while you focus on your medical care and recovery. The cost of treating a brain injury goes far beyond medical bills. Some individuals may have lifelong personal care costs, lost income, and medical care costs. You deserve to be compensated for these losses. You also deserve to be compensated for the mental, emotional, and physical pain and suffering you endure as well as your loss of quality of life because of a brain injury.

Contact our California personal injury attorneys now to discuss how we can help you fight for fair and just compensation after a brain injury.