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Coup Contrecoup Brain Injuries and Automobile Accidents

Coup Contrecoup Brain Injury From Car Accidents

A “coup” injury is located at the exact site of the impact. For instance if you slam your head against the steering column, it is very possible that you may in fact suffer a coup injury at the spot of your forehead that directly collides with the steering column. In contrast, a “contrecoup” wound may occur at the opposite spectrum of the brain from the “coup” injury. Why does this happen? The brain has the consistency of pudding. In a high velocity auto collision, the brain itself often continues moving after the head stops by impacting a stationary object or in a similar mechanism as whiplash (i.e. think of shaking baby syndrome).

In acceleration/deceleration incidents where the skull does not actually impact an object, it is believed that the brain may bounce off of the skull and hit the opposite side. This often results in coup/contrecoup injuries. Coup contrecoup injuries are generally linked closely to diffuse axonal injury. Link between coup contrecoup injury and diffuse axonal injury  Within the brain there are countless nerve calls located within the gray matter which communicate with communicate with other distant nerve cells through nerve fibers known as axons. During an acceleration/deceleration incident (whiplash), the head is often thrown around in a rapid violent manner. As a result, the delicate axonal fibers can twist, stretch and even tear.

Many automobile accident victims, who suffer mild to moderate closed head injury, will present with cognitive deficit.  This will manifest in an individual being easily distracted, confused and will experience difficulty with attention and concentration. Further, brain injury victims will encounter problems with higher level thinking (known as “executive functions”) involved in organizing, planning, problem solving, abstract thinking, and making judgments. This results in an inability to successfully continue employment in his/her pre-injury occupation. Most diffuse axonal injury victims will display psychiatric issues, such as inability to cope, depression, irritability, apathy, anxiety, frustration, insomnia and mood swings.

If you would like more information on diffuse axonal injuries, coup contrecoup injuries, or a legal issue related to a brain injury/closed head injury, simply send me an email at:

Matthew A. Dolman, is a Clearwater personal injury attorney.  Mr. Dolman has garnered substantial experience and a proven track record in handling, litigating and successfully resolving traumatic brain injury lawsuits; including claims related to skull fractures or diffuse axonal injury.

As an Officer of the Court, Mr. Dolman handles auto and motorcycle accident claims throughout the State of Florida.