Contusions are a traumatic brain injury (TBI) where a blow to the head bruises the brain. Swelling and internal bleeding are typically found in addition to bruising. There are three main types of cerebral contusion: coup, contrecoup, and coup-contrecoup. The name for all three categories come from the French words for ‘blow’ (coup) and ‘counter’ (contre). In this blog, we’ll focus on contrecoup brain injuries.
Coup vs. Contrecoup Injury
All three types of contusions are considered closed brain injuries, which means the skull has not been pierced, broken, or penetrated. Although confused for one another, coup and contrecoup injuries are quite different.
How to distinguish between coup and contrecoup injuries:
- A coup injury occurs when the brain is damaged directly below the location of the blow. Often, the damage is the result of an object striking the head.
- A contrecoup injury occurs when the brain is damaged on the opposite side of the received blow. Often, the damage is the result of the head striking an object.
The third type of contusion, coup-contrecoup, is a combination of both coup and contrecoup injuries. In those situations, damage occurs on the side of impact as well as on the opposite side.
Common Causes of Contrecoup Brain Injury
When you suffer a contrecoup injury, you may have external damage such as bruising or bleeding at the site of impact, but the brain’s internal damage is located on the opposite side. For this sort of damage to occur, a force of some kind is often involved, throwing the head into a stationary object.
Some of the common causes of contrecoup injury include:
- Traffic collisions, including motorcycle, car, truck, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents
- Falls from heights
- Workplace accidents, including industrial, plant, and construction accidents
- Offshore and maritime accidents
- Proximity to a blast or explosion
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Unfortunately, because the damage is on the opposite side of where the blow occured, contrecoup injuries are often overlooked. It’s essential to be aware of TBI signs and ensure that a thorough evaluation is performed.
Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with brain injuries:
- Mild Cases - Noise and light sensitivity, depression, memory loss, and difficulty focusing.
- Moderate Cases - Impairment to the cognitive, motor, sensory, language, and functional abilities. Social difficulties, regulatory disturbances, and personality changes.
- Severe Cases - Coma or vegetative/minimally responsive state.
Another aspect of brain injury to note is how it can develop and worsen over time. The immediate damage is known as the primary injury—but as the brain tissue responds to the initial accident’s trauma, further damage can occur. The effects are known as secondary brain injury.
Treatments for Contrecoup Injury
Depending on the severity of the case, a wide range of prognosis and treatment is possible. Some individuals can recover from contrecoup contusions completely, while others will never restore their physical and cognitive abilities. Unlike other parts of the body capable of mending and regenerating damaged material, the brain cannot grow new nerves to replace what was lost. That means TBI can result in permanent disability and the need for long-term, rehabilitative care. The recovery timeline is also difficult to predict, as each brain injury is unique. Doctors will look at the severity of both primary and secondary injuries to determine treatment.
Treatment can include:
- Physical and cognitive rehabilitation
- Surgery or medically induced coma
Treatment for a contrecoup injury can quickly add up to millions of dollars—and, even still, your life may never return to normal. If you or a loved one has suffered from a contrecoup or another type of brain injury because of another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover the cost of care.
How You Can Move Forward After a Contrecoup Injury
Arnold & Itkin understands the physical, emotional, and financial toll that contrecoup injuries can cause. Our brain injury attorneys are here to help. No matter what. If another person was responsible for the accident that caused your contrecoup injury, we want to hold them accountable. As soon as we take on your case, we’ll begin reviewing the facts and helping you find the legal options available to you. We have a history of securing large recoveries for our clients, and we are not afraid to take on even the most challenging cases.
A few examples of brain injury cases we’ve handled:
- $117 million verdict for a pregnant woman who suffered spine and brain injuries in an ambulance accident.
- $14 million Jones Act settlement for a worker who suffered a head injury on an inland barge.
- $7.2 million settlement for an oilfield worker who suffered brain damage after and memory loss a serious fall from an offshore platform.
When choosing a brain injury attorney, you need to find someone who cares as much about your future as you do. Arnold & Itkin takes each case personally, and we will put in the time to understand precisely how this injury will affect the rest of your life. We fight for you to have everything you need to rebuild and recover after a catastrophic injury. That can include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, ongoing care, pain and suffering, loss of earning potential, and more. Reach out to tell us about your contrecoup injury.
We take every case on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t pay anything unless we win. Call (888) 493-1629 or fill out our contact form to request your free consultation.