Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Shreveport Personal Injury Lawyer
Free Consultation
Call Today!
Shreveport Injury Lawyer > Blog > Brain Injury > What is a Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury?

What is a Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury?

coup contrecoup brain injury

A coup-contrecoup brain injury is a type of traumatic brain injury commonly caused by traumatic accidents like car accidents. These injuries occur when the brain sustains damage at both the impact site and the opposite side due to rebound forces within the skull. Coup-contrecoup injuries resulting from the sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head can lead to lifelong disability. For victims of such devastating injuries, it’s crucial to explore both medical and legal options for healing and justice. With over 30 years of experience, the Shreveport brain injury attorneys at Rice & Kendig are dedicated to helping TBI victims receive the justice and compensation they deserve from negligent parties responsible for their accidents. If you or a loved one has suffered any kind of head trauma due to negligence, call our compassionate legal team at 318-222-2772 to schedule a free consultation today.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Before delving into coup-contrecoup injuries specifically, it’s essential to grasp the broader concept of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex condition resulting from sudden impact or force to the head, leading to damage to the brain. TBIs encompass a broad spectrum of injuries, ranging from mild concussions to severe impairments with long-term consequences. Additionally, TBIs are often categorized as closed-brain injuries and open-brain injuries. A closed head injury is one that you can’t see because there was no penetration to the skull. A brain contusion, or concussion, falls into this category. Meanwhile, open brain injuries are those that involve skull penetration. These types of TBIs are prevalent in shootings and other violent assaults.

Depending on the severity and location of the injury, TBIs can cause physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. For example, frontal lobe damage will result in significantly different symptoms than temporal lobe damage. Recognizing the signs of a TBI and seeking prompt medical attention is crucial for effective treatment and management. 

contrecoup brain injury

What is a Coup Brain Injury?

A coup brain injury occurs at the site of impact on the skull. When an external force is applied to the head, the brain (floating in cerebrospinal fluid) can strike the skull’s interior, leading to localized damage. Coup injuries typically correspond to the point of impact, causing bruising, bleeding, or other trauma to the brain tissue.

A coup injury occurs when a moving object hits a stationary head. For example, a baseball hitting someone’s head at a rapid speed can result in blunt impact injury.

What is a Contrecoup Brain Injury?

In contrast, a contrecoup injury occurs in the opposite direction of the impact. When the head experiences sudden acceleration and deceleration forces, the brain may rebound within the skull, causing a brain contusion to the opposite side of the brain from the initial impact. This head injury typically occurs when a moving head hits a stationary object. For example, contrecoup contusions are very common in car accidents when the driver’s skull and brain strike the steering wheel, a stationary object.

What is a Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury?

A coup-contrecoup brain injury combines elements of both coup and contrecoup injuries. In these cases, the brain sustains damage both at the site of skull impact and on the opposite side due to rebound forces within the skull. These injuries could occur individually or together during a traumatic accident. This dual impact can lead to more extensive and severe brain damage compared to either coup or contrecoup injuries alone.

It’s important to note that a coup contrecoup brain injury is considered a focal injury because it damages specific parts of the brain. Meanwhile, a diffuse axonal injury, for example, causes widespread damage to the brain because it rotates inside the skull, tearing the nerve fibers.

Common Causes of Coup Contrecoup Brain Injuries

Coup-contrecoup brain injuries can result from various traumatic accidents that subject the head to sudden acceleration, deceleration, or impact forces. The most common causes of brain injuries in Shreveport include motor vehicle collisions, slip and fall accidents, sports accidents involving contact or falls, violent assaults, and explosive blasts.

contrecoup injury

Motor Vehicle Collisions

Motor vehicle accidents, including semi-truck and motorcycle accidents, are the top causes of coup-contrecoup brain injuries. The sudden impact and rapid deceleration associated with a car accident can result in flying objects hitting the skull or cause occupants to hit their heads on complex objects at a high rate of speed.

Our Shreveport auto accident lawyers, Shreveport truck accident lawyers, and Shreveport motorcycle accident lawyers have decades of combined experience in helping TBI victims receive the compensation they need to recover from their traumatic accidents.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Coup contrecoup injuries also occur from slip-and-fall accidents, particularly among elderly populations. Falls can lead to sudden blows to the head or violent head movements, increasing the risk of coup-contrecoup injuries, especially when surfaces are hard or uneven.

Sports Accidents

Participation in contact sports or activities with a high risk of falls can also result in coup-contrecoup brain injuries. Impact with other players, equipment, or the ground can cause athletes to suffer anything from a mild concussion to a severe intracerebral hemorrhage.

Violent Attacks

Violent assaults or attacks can cause coup-contrecoup brain injuries due to blunt force trauma to the head. Victims of physical violence may sustain injuries from punches, kicks, or blows with objects, leading to coup-contrecoup injuries with potentially severe consequences.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a devastating form of abusive head trauma that can result in coup-contrecoup brain injuries. Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to SBS due to their delicate neck muscles and disproportionately large heads relative to their bodies. When a caregiver violently shakes a baby out of frustration or anger, the baby’s brain can undergo rapid acceleration and deceleration within the skull. This sudden movement can cause the brain to hit the skull’s interior, resulting in coup injuries at the site of impact and contrecoup injuries on the opposite side of the brain. The forceful shaking can lead to widespread brain damage, including bleeding, bruising, and swelling, which can have lifelong consequences for the child’s cognitive, motor, and emotional development. 

Explosive Blasts

In military settings or even oil rig explosions, individuals may experience coup-contrecoup brain injuries from the blast wave’s effects. The sudden changes in air pressure can cause the brain to accelerate rapidly and decelerate, resulting in widespread, severe damage.

If you or a loved one has suffered severe brain trauma from an oil field accident, Shreveport oilfield injury lawyers at Rice & Kendig can fight for your justice and recovery.

Symptoms of a Coup Contrecoup Injury

A head injury can cause a wide variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, depending on the severity of the injury and the brain areas that are damaged. A person with a mild traumatic brain injury may have these symptoms for a few weeks to a few months, while a person with a severe traumatic brain injury can suffer from these symptoms for the rest of their lives.

coup vs contrecoup

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of coup-contrecoup brain injuries can manifest in various ways, depending on the severity and location of the injury. These symptoms may include:

  • Headaches: Persistent or severe headaches are common after a coup-contrecoup injury, often resulting from increased pressure or inflammation within the skull.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Disruptions to the brain’s normal functioning can lead to feelings of nausea and episodes of vomiting.
  • Dizziness and balance problems: Damage to brain areas responsible for balance and coordination can cause dizziness, vertigo, and difficulty maintaining balance.
  • Loss of consciousness: In severe cases, coup-contrecoup injuries may result in temporary loss of consciousness, ranging from brief periods to prolonged coma.
  • Sensory disturbances: Brain damage to sensory processing areas may cause blurred vision, ear ringing (tinnitus), and other sensory loss or abnormalities.
  • Motor function deficits: Weakness, paralysis, or coordination problems in limbs or other body parts can occur if the areas of the brain controlling movement are affected.
  • Seizures: Abnormal electrical activity in the brain following a coup-contrecoup injury may lead to seizures, manifesting as convulsions, loss of awareness, or unusual sensations.

These physical symptoms can significantly impact an individual’s daily functioning and quality of life, underscoring the importance of seeking medical attention and exploring legal options for recovery and compensation.

Cognitive and Memory Symptoms

Cognitive and memory symptoms are prevalent in individuals with coup-contrecoup brain injuries, reflecting the intricate nature of brain function disruption. These symptoms encompass:

  • Confusion and disorientation: Patients may struggle to comprehend their surroundings or maintain a coherent stream of thought.
  • Memory loss and impairment: Both short-term and long-term memory deficits can arise, impacting the ability to recall recent events or retain new information.
  • Attention and concentration difficulties: Difficulty focusing or staying attentive to tasks may hinder cognitive performance.
  • Impaired judgment and decision-making: Due to compromised cognitive function, individuals may exhibit poor judgment or struggle to make sound decisions.
  • Reduced processing speed: Slowed cognitive processing can delay understanding and responding to stimuli, affecting daily functioning.

Social and Emotional Symptoms

Social and emotional symptoms are prevalent among individuals who have experienced coup-contrecoup brain injuries, impacting their interpersonal relationships and emotional well-being. These symptoms may include:

  • Mood swings: Patients may experience rapid fluctuations in mood, ranging from irritability and agitation to sadness or euphoria.
  • Depression and anxiety: Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or stress may arise due to the challenges of coping with the injury and its consequences.
  • Social withdrawal: Individuals may isolate themselves from social interactions or activities they once enjoyed, feeling overwhelmed or disconnected from others.
  • Emotional instability: Intense emotional reactions or outbursts can occur unpredictably.
  • Reduced empathy: The impaired ability to understand or empathize with others’ emotions or perspectives may strain interpersonal relationships.

Treatment for Coup Contrecoup Brain Injuries

Medical professionals can diagnose a coup contrecoup injury via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a neurological exam. Following a diagnosis, treatment for coup-contrecoup brain injuries typically involves a multidisciplinary approach aimed at addressing the various physical, cognitive, emotional, and social effects of the injury. Immediately following the injury, emergency medical care focuses on stabilizing the patient, controlling bleeding and swelling in the brain, and preventing further damage. Once the patient’s condition has stabilized, recovering from traumatic brain injuries in Louisiana may involve the following treatments:

  • Rehabilitation therapies: Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are often employed to help patients regain lost motor skills, improve cognitive function, and overcome communication difficulties.
  • Medication management: Medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms such as headaches, seizures, mood disorders, and sleep disturbances associated with coup-contrecoup injuries.
  • Cognitive rehabilitation: Cognitive rehabilitation programs are designed to help patients improve memory, attention, problem-solving skills, and other mental abilities through structured exercises and strategies.
  • Counseling and psychological support: Psychological counseling and support groups can provide coping strategies, emotional support, and guidance for managing the psychological effects of coup-contrecoup injuries on both patients and their families.

The goal of treatment for coup-contrecoup brain injuries is to maximize the patient’s recovery and quality of life while minimizing long-term disabilities and complications. Each treatment plan is tailored to the individual’s specific needs, taking into account the severity of the injury, the areas of the brain affected, and the patient’s overall health and functional status. Close collaboration between medical professionals, therapists, caregivers, and support networks is essential to ensure comprehensive and effective care for patients with coup-contrecoup brain injuries.

coup-contrecoup injury

Long-Term Complications of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Long-term complications of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and functional independence. The complications of a severe injury may include cognitive impairments such as memory deficits, attention problems, and difficulty processing information. Additionally, motor deficits such as weakness, paralysis, or coordination difficulties can hinder mobility and daily activities. Sensory disturbances, mood disorders, and behavioral changes are also common, affecting emotional well-being and social interactions. Furthermore, individuals with TBIs may be at increased risk of developing neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia later in life, further complicating their long-term prognosis.

For those who suffer from long-term TBI complications, the financial burden can be substantial. Medical expenses for ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, and assistive devices can accumulate rapidly, while lost wages due to disability or reduced earning capacity can further strain financial resources. Moreover, the physical and emotional toll of living with a TBI can result in extensive pain and suffering, deserving significant compensation. As a result, individuals with long-term TBI complications often receive higher personal injury settlement amounts to address the extraordinary costs and challenges they face.

Can You Sue for a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Individuals who suffer traumatic brain injuries due to another party’s negligence or misconduct may have legal options for pursuing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. To have a successful coup contrecoup injury claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached a duty of care owed to them, resulting in the TBI and resulting damages.

Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Proving negligence involves application of the establishing five key elements:

  • Duty of Care: The at-fault party owed a duty of care to the plaintiff to act reasonably and prevent foreseeable harm.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant breached this duty through negligent or reckless actions or omissions.
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s traumatic brain injury.
  • Scope of Duty is whether the defendant’s substandard conduct was the legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered actual damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the TBI.

Damages for a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit

In a successful traumatic brain injury lawsuit, a Shreveport personal injury lawyer can help the plaintiff recover a variety of damages, including:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for past and future medical treatment, rehabilitation costs, assistive devices, and other healthcare expenses related to the TBI.
  • Lost Income: Recovery for lost wages and diminished earning capacity resulting from the TBI-related disability.
  • Pain and Suffering: Damages for physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the TBI and its effects.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: In the case of a fatal coup contrecoup injury, a Shreveport wrongful death attorney can help the surviving family members recover funeral and burial expenses.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases involving particularly egregious conduct, the court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior.

traumatic brain injury lawyer

Call Shreveport Brain Injury Attorneys at Rice & Kendig Today

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of the experienced Shreveport personal injury lawyer at Rice & Kendig. With a proven track record of success, our firm has recovered millions of dollars in individual settlements for victims of head injuries, helping them secure the compensation they deserve. We understand the devastating impact that TBIs can have on individuals and their families, and we are committed to providing compassionate and effective legal representation. Our team will work tirelessly to investigate your case, gather evidence, and build a strong claim on your behalf. 

Don’t delay seeking justice and financial recovery – call Shreveport’s top brain injury attorneys at 318-222-2772 today to schedule a free consultation.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
1030 Kings Highway
Shreveport, Louisiana 71104
Office: 318-222-2772
Shreveport-Bossier City

© 2020 - 2024 Rice & Kendig, LLC. All rights reserved. This law firm
website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.