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What Is a Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury?

Coup-Contrecoup Brain InjuryWhen we leave the house and go for a drive, play a sport, or even head to work, we always expect that we will return safely. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Whether heading to work or a store, we sometimes find ourselves involved in an accident. This might result from a slip at the store, a car accident on the way, or even some sort of criminal activity.

No matter what, if you or a loved one have suffered injuries of any kind, you want to know what comes next and how you get better. That starts by understanding the type of injury suffered and how it occurred. The best way to go about this is by speaking with a trusted brain injury attorney who can answer all of your questions and guide you through your path to recovery.

The law may entitle you, as a coup-contrecoup injury victim, to compensation for your injuries and your suffering. Do not let this opportunity slip by and fail to pursue the compensation to which you may be entitled. Your best chance of collecting every dollar you deserve relies on the legal representation you choose to advocate for you.

Coup, Contrecoup, and Coup-Contrecoup Explained

Brain injuries cause serious and often lifelong challenges for the victim. Traumatic brain injuries, also referred to as TBIs, are serious injuries that you should never ignore. Coup, contrecoup, and coup-contrecoup are three types of TBI. Each injury type is unique, but they often occur together.


A coup TBI happens when the brain suffers an injury at the impact site. For example, if you get into a car accident and your forehead hits the steering wheel with such force that your brain suffers an injury, a coup injury would occur on the brain at the site of the impact, your forehead.


A contrecoup TBI happens when your brain suffers an injury at the opposite side from the impact. Sticking with the car accident example, if your forehead hits the steering wheel but with only enough force to push your brain backward, when your brain impacts your skull on the back of your head, that is where the contrecoup injury would occur. This type of TBI can cause medical problems because it is often misdiagnosed as medical personnel may assume the injury occurred when that part of your head impacted an object.


If your head hit the steering wheel with enough force that it caused a coup injury and with enough force that your brain also slammed into the back of your skull, this is called a contrecoup injury. Permanent brain damage is a serious risk with this type of TBI because the force involved causes multiple injuries to the brain’s different regions.

Damages Caused

Any TBI has the potential to cause serious and even deadly injuries.  In fact, over 150 people die each day after suffering a TBI. For victims who survive, a TBI can have lasting impacts and cause problems with decision making, speaking, and motor skills. Depending on the severity of the TBI you suffered, you may never return to work, affecting your ability to make a living and sustain yourself.

A coup-contrecoup TBI could impact your life in severely negative ways. You could face:

  • Extended hospital stays
  • Multiple surgeries
  • Lengthy periods of time out of work
  • Inability to return to work
  • Prolonged rehabilitation

Each of these instances directly results from your coup-contrecoup injury. No matter what caused your injury, it was not your fault and you should bear none of the responsibility for the costs associated with your recovery. That should be the sole duty of the person who caused your accident and your suffering. To help you maximize your recovery, speak with an experienced coup-contrecoup brain injury attorney today.

Signs and Symptoms

Like any TBI, coup-contrecoup injuries are serious and require immediate medical attention.

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any type of accident where the brain could have been injured, you need to keep a close watch out for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Sudden mood or personality changes
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sudden change in sleep patterns

Coup-contrecoup brain injuries are most common in the forehead and the back of the head. These areas in the brain control language, concentration, memory, balance, and coordination. Any sign of a change in these brain functions could show a serious coup-contrecoup injury that must receive immediate medical care.

Treatments Available

Unfortunately, coup-contrecoup brain injuries often cause permanent damage. There is generally no cure to this type of injury, but rather a change to the victim’s life and working obligations to prevent any further injury to the brain.

Depending on the severity of the injury suffered, a doctor might require surgery. In some cases after a coup-contrecoup injury, the brain can swell up which puts additional pressure on the skull. It requires surgery to relieve this pressure. If doctors don’t quickly operate, the brain could suffer additional and catastrophic injuries.

Rehabilitation is the most often prescribed method of treatment for coup-contrecoup injuries. Even in the most serious of cases, rehabilitation can help victims regain some independence by helping to improve motor function, speech, and maintain daily routines. Medication will probably be a part of this treatment, but intense physical and mental rehabilitation will be the key.

After suffering a coup-contrecoup injury, you or your loved one will likely need a lifetime of medical attention. Your condition might improve over time and you might need less and less attention as time goes on but rehabilitation will become a regular part of your life. The cost of this treatment is massive. The medical bills for your rehabilitation can place you and the rest of your family under extreme financial pressure and, potentially, financial hardship. Because you may no longer work, you are not bringing any money into the household. Tack on the extremely high medical bills and your family could feel an unnecessary weight on their shoulders.

This is why it is so important that you speak with a coup-contrecoup injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Over two-thirds of Americans file bankruptcy every year because of their inability to pay their medical bills. Do not let yourself or your family become a statistic. You can hold the negligent party liable for your injuries and accountable for your medical bills. You should not be the one to pay your medical expenses and cover your lost wages – that should be the sole responsibility of the person who caused you all this pain and suffering.

Getting Compensation

Collecting compensation for your injuries, your suffering, and your lost income is more challenging than simply saying some other person caused your injuries.

To obtain monetary compensation from the person who caused you harm, you must show:

  • The other person owed you a duty to act in a reasonably safe manner so as not to cause harm to others.
  • The person breached that duty by acting unreasonably.
  • As a result of the other person’s unreasonable actions, you suffered injuries and damages.

Proving these elements can present their own challenges. Working with a seasoned coup-contrecoup injury attorney can help to give you a leg up and ensure you get compensation for your injuries.

Your attorney may try to get you compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Present and future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs

You must properly account for your monetary needs. You may see the medical bills sitting on your kitchen table and it’s surely easy enough to calculate the amount sitting there. But determining what you will need in the future is a much more complex process.

Working with the right TBI attorney, you can work together to create an accurate calculation of your future needs. This may include your lost wages and earning potential, besides all of your medical procedures and rehabilitation bills. You need to account for your lost wages because you may not return to work for a long time, if at all. Even if you can return to work, it may be in a reduced capacity where you do not earn as much money. The money you would have earned would have kept you at a certain quality of life but also would have helped you to pay for the monumental medical bills you face.

An estimate will not give you an exact amount, to the penny, that your future medical care will cost. But you certainly want to be as accurate as possible. The last thing we want to see is for you to have to pay out of pocket for your medical expenses resulting from an accident you did not cause. That’s why we work hard for you to help you get every dollar you deserve.

Quick Settlement Caution

The estimate we can create together becomes even more important during settlement negotiations. Soon after you suffer a coup-contrecoup injury, the insurance company representing the at-fault party may call you to discuss a settlement offer. They hope you do not have a lawyer yet because they want to make you go away for as little as possible.

The insurance company does not have the same goals as you. Their goal is to settle your case as quickly as possible and for as little as possible. Your goal is to make sure you do not have to pay out of pocket for your medical expenses. That is our goal, too.

We cannot stress this enough—if you receive a quick settlement offer and you do not have an attorney, now is the time to get one. Your lawyer can help you review the settlement offer to make sure it covers not only your existing needs but also your future needs. If you sign the low ball settlement offer, you will likely waive your right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for this injury. So months or even years later, when you realize the settlement funds were not enough to cover all of your needs, it will be too late for you to do anything.

That’s why having the right lawyer at your side from the start can actually help you collect more money than if you tried to go it alone. As trusted TBI injury attorneys, we know the tactics insurance companies play and we are not afraid to take on the big insurance companies to protect your rights and help you maximize your recovery.

Get a Brain Injury Lawyer

Your brain injury lawyer is your advocate at a time when you need one most. Suffering an accident where you endure a life-altering coup-contrecoup injury is bad enough. You need to focus on your physical recovery. The best way to do that is to let go of the legal stress and worry about how you will pay your bills. Let that be the problem of your chosen legal representation.

When you release yourself from the burden of dealing with the legal complexities of your brain injury claim, you can put all of your effort and energy exactly where it needs to be—on your recovery. And that is the most important action you can take during such a traumatic time in your life.

Whether you are the victim of a car accident, pedestrian accident, sports accident, or crime, you deserve skilled and experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer at your side, fighting to protect your rights and get you every dollar you deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered a coup-contrecoup injury, the law may entitle you to compensation that you can use to help aid your recovery. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today.

Gomez Trial Attorneys
655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, CA 92101

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  • “John helped me find doctors, he referred me to his neurologist, his physical therapist, I mean, anything I needed he was right there, every step of the way. I couldn’t have asked for a better result from all of this, I would absolutely recommend Gomez Trial Attorneys.”

  • “During the time I was working with Gomez Trial Attorneys, they treated me very, very well. 100% of the time, they believed me, and they were very compassionate. They felt sorry for what happened and they understood the therapy process.”

  • “They held my hand the whole time and kept me in the loop every aspect of my case which was very refreshing to me. They helped me get my settlement offer as fast as possible and I was able to keep my farm”

  • “The Gomez experience was the best experience it could be for me really, only positive things to say. They really were there every step if the way. Thanks to Gomez Trial Attorneys my dad is able to support my family as a single father”

  • “He opened the door for me to join his firm to help other brain Injury survivors and I never met another firm who is like this who was so understanding and caring who took the extra step and walked the extra mile with their clients and this is the best”

  • “I am very satisfied with the outcome with Gomez and I would definitely recommend Gomez to anybody, we tell people all the time, Get Gomez! They are really thorough with everything and they make you feel real comfortable.”

  • “Just helped us through, guided us through, I kept notes all those years, we had questions all the time and they would always keep us informed of what was going on. They just unlayered it, layer by layer, I’ve never seen anything like them. Thank God for them.”

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