Each year, an estimated 2.5 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Although many recover fully from the experience, it’s not uncommon for such injuries to lead to long-term issues like brain damage or even death. TBIs cause around 50,000 deaths and over 80,000 permanent disabilities annually.

A TBI can be mild or severe, ranging from bruising or a concussion to a skull fracture, brain hemorrhaging, or a coma. One possible outcome of head trauma is a coup-contrecoup brain injury. What can you expect if you suffer this type of injury? What causes it, and what steps should you take to protect yourself during recovery?

Coup-Contrecoup Defined

This type of traumatic brain injury is typically caused by an impact on the head. The coup portion occurs at the impact site when a moving object strikes the head. The contrecoup occurs when the moving brain then hits a stationary object.

Here’s how it works. Suppose that you are struck on the side of the head by a moving object, such as if you hit your head on the interior of a car during a collision. Your head then bounces off the impact surface, and the force of that motion causes your brain to slam against the inside of the skull.

The initial collision with an external object is the coup, and your brain hitting the skull on the opposite side of your head is the contrecoup. In other words, it means that you’ve experienced not one but two brain injuries.

You should also know that an initial impact isn’t necessary for this type of brain injury to occur. An acceleration injury like whiplash, where the head is forcefully tossed forward and back or side to side, could also result in a coup-contrecoup injury.

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several common causes of TBI. Falls are the most likely reason to be hospitalized for TBI, accounting for nearly half of all cases in the U.S. Some falls even occur in the hospital setting, perhaps due to medical errors in a patient’s care.

Motor vehicle crashes are another frequent source of TBI, followed by assaults and simply being hit by moving or falling objects. TBIs, including coup-contrecoup injuries, are particularly harmful to children. A serious brain injury in childhood can affect physical, mental, and emotional development.

Treatment For a Coup-Contrecoup Injury

Immediate treatment of any TBI is essential to minimize damage and speed recovery. However, it is especially important for coup-contrecoup injuries that affect multiple sites. Serious injuries may require immediate surgical decompression to alleviate pressure on the brain.

At the very least, patients presenting with this diagnosis will need monitoring and CT scans for 24 hours. During this time, it’s important to watch for decreased neurological function that could indicate intracranial pressure. 

Antiepileptic medication may be required for several days following the injury as well. Long-term treatment will depend on the neurological damage caused by the injury and whether it results in additional physical or mental symptoms.

Protecting Yourself During Recovery 

If you suffer a brain injury such as a coup-contrecoup injury, you deserve to have your medical bills covered. If you are hurt by the negligence or incompetence of another, the last thing you want to do is fight with insurance providers who have time to delay a settlement until you give up.

After seeking medical attention for your injuries, you should find an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process of seeking compensation, negotiate on your behalf, and build a case. This will ensure that you can focus on recovering from serious trauma.

Contact the Atlanta Brain Injury Law Firm of Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers for Help Today

If you or a close one have suffered from medical malpractice in Atlanta, GA, please call Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers at (770) 390-7550 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers
2 Ravinia Dr NE Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30346