5622 Central Avenue , St. Petersburg, Florida 33707 7275711333 contact@jlgtampabay.com

Coup vs. Contrecoup Brain Injuries - Jones Law Group

  • Home
  • Coup vs. Contrecoup Brain Injuries
MRI of the brain. Neuropathologist holds a picture against the background of a light device

Coup vs. Contrecoup Brain Injuries

Just about any kind of personal injury accident can result in a severe brain injury. Two of the most common are “coup” and “contrecoup” brain injuries. While people often lump these terms together, they’re actually two distinct conditions. The following is a look at the differences between the two and why they happen.

Jones Law Group has a team of attorneys with a long track record of success helping people who suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence. If you’d like to know how we can help you, please contact us online or call (727) 571-1333 for a free consultation.

What are Coup Brain Injuries?

A coup brain injury refers to damage at the impact site when the head sustains a direct blow or collision. When an external force strikes the head, the brain collides with the skull at the point of impact, leading to localized injury. A coup lesion is a bruise that develops at that point.

What are Contrecoup Brain Injuries?

A contrecoup brain injury, on the other hand, happens on the opposite side of the head from the point of impact. It gets its name from a French term meaning “counterblow.”

Contrecoup brain injuries occur due to a sudden deceleration or acceleration of the head after the initial impact. When the head stops abruptly or changes direction rapidly, the brain continues to move inside the skull, striking the skull’s opposite side. This results in damage to the brain tissue opposite the original impact site.

Common Causes of Coup and Contrecoup Brain Injuries

There are many ways someone can suffer coup and contrecoup brain injuries. These are a few of the more common reasons these injuries occur.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents, truck collisions, and motorcycle crashes commonly result in coup and contrecoup brain injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 25% of all brain injuries occur due to vehicle accidents.

The sudden impact of a collision can cause the head to strike an object (coup) and then move in the opposite direction, leading to a secondary impact on the opposite side of the head (contrecoup).

Slip and Fall Accidents

A slip and fall can lead to a brain injury when the head strikes a hard surface during the fall, causing a coup injury. Upon impact, the sudden deceleration or acceleration of the head can also result in a contrecoup injury on the opposite side of the brain.

Workplace Accidents

Accidents in industrial or construction settings can also result in head injuries. Objects falling from heights or workers hitting their heads on hard surfaces can cause coup and contrecoup brain injuries.

How Much Do Coup and Contrecoup Brain Injuries Cost?

Coup and Contrecoup brain injuries can be complex and require extensive medical interventions and long-term care, leading to substantial financial implications. According to research from Northwestern University, lifetime costs can range from $85,000 up to $3 million. These costs include the following:

  • Immediate medical expenses: These include emergency room visits, diagnostic tests (MRI, CT scans), hospitalization, surgeries, and medications. 
  • Inpatient rehabilitation: Victims must often undergo specialized therapies and treatments. Inpatient rehab costs can add tens of thousands of dollars to the overall expenses.
  • Outpatient treatment: Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and doctor visits contribute to the overall expenses.
  • Long-term care: The victim may require long-term care or assisted living, which can be a significant ongoing expense.
  • Medications: The cost of medications required to manage pain, treat symptoms, or address other medical issues related to a brain injury can accumulate over time.

Recovering Damages After Coup or Contrecoup Brain Injuries

A brain injury victim can pursue various types of damages to seek compensation for the losses they have experienced due to their injury.

These damages can be both economic and non-economic and are aimed at helping the victim recover and regain some semblance of their pre-injury life. The types of damages a brain injury victim can pursue include:

Medical Expenses

These include all the costs associated with medical treatment and any ongoing medical care required. As you’ve already seen, these expenses can reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars over the victim’s lifetime.

Lost Wages and Earning Capacity

If the brain injury has caused the victim to miss work or become permanently disabled, they can pursue compensation for the wages lost during their recovery period. They can also pursue potential future lost earnings if they can’t work or their injury diminishes their earning capacity.

Pain and Suffering

Brain injuries can cause physical pain and emotional suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering is intended to address the emotional and mental distress caused by the injury and the challenges faced during recovery.

Disability and Impairment

Brain injuries can result in long-term or permanent disabilities and impairments that affect the victim’s ability to carry out daily activities or enjoy life. Victims can seek compensation for the impact of these disabilities on their quality of life.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

A brain injury can significantly diminish the victim’s ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed. When this happens, they can pursue damages for the loss of enjoyment of life.

It’s essential to work with an experienced personal injury attorney specializing in brain injury cases to assess the full extent of the damages and ensure that all applicable damages are pursued in the claim or lawsuit.

Each brain injury case is unique, and the compensation awarded will depend on the specific circumstances and the severity of the injury.

How to File a Head Injury Claim

Filing a head injury claim can be a complex legal process. To ensure the best possible outcome, it’s essential to follow these steps:

  • Seek medical attention: Seek immediate medical attention and follow through with all prescribed treatments.
  • Gather evidence: Document the accident scene, collect witness statements, obtain medical records, and gather relevant evidence related to the brain injury and its causes.
  • Consult an attorney: Contact a personal injury attorney with experience in traumatic brain injury cases. They can provide legal guidance, protect your rights, and handle negotiations with insurance companies.
  • Settlement or trial: Your try to negotiate a fair settlement from the insurance company. If they refuse to settle, your lawyer will likely file a lawsuit and represent you in court.

Contact Jones Law Group to Speak with a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer ASAP

If you or a loved one have suffered a coup or contrecoup brain injury in an accident caused by someone else, please get in touch with Jones Law Group immediately.

Our experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers can assess your case, help you understand your rights, and work to secure the compensation

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio