Coup-Contrecoup brain injuries are traumatic brain injuries caused in catastrophic accidents. Here, learn what they are and the brain damage they can cause.

What Are Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries Caused by Catastrophic Accidents?

Whenever a person is injured in a catastrophic accident, such as a car, truck or motorcycle accident, or a slip and fall accident, he can strike his head or have it struck by a hard object. The consequence can be a devastating traumatic brain injury. A coup-contrecoup brain injury is a type of traumatic brain injury that results in bruising and bleeding on the brain. Unfortunately, the symptoms of these brain injuries can take days or longer to develop to the point where the victim realizes that there is a problem. By this time, the injuries can have already caused permanent brain damage and may be life-threatening.

What Are Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries?

Coup-contrecoup brain injuries are non-penetrating injuries and are contusions—or bruises—on the brain that result when a strong blow or other blunt force causes the brain to slam against the skull. These injuries affect different parts of the brain and can be hard to diagnose. There are three separate types of coup-contrecoup brain injuries:

  • Coup. Coup injuries are present on the brain directly below the point of impact, making them easier to diagnose. Surface bruises, cuts, contusions, and other injuries can help determine the part of the brain injured. In serious cases, these injuries can cause hemorrhaging, swelling, and bruising of the skull and brain.
  • Contrecoup. Contrecoup injuries affect the opposite side of the brain from where the impact occurred, and are caused when the brain moves and hits the opposite side of the skull. This makes the injury harder to diagnose or can result in a misdiagnosis. Like coup, these injuries can cause hemorrhaging, swelling, and bruising. Because they are often not identified and treated promptly, victims can suffer long-term consequences from their injuries. 
  • Coup-Contrecoup. These injuries are the most serious because both the side of the brain impacted in the accident and the opposite side of the brain are injured. Often, coup-contrecoup injuries are misdiagnosed, with only one of the areas of the brain being treated. As a result, permanent brain damage is a likely consequence.

What Are the Effects of Coup, Contrecoup, and Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries?

The injuries caused by Coup, Contrecoup, and Coup-Contrecoup can cause permanent brain damage that can affect a person’s ability to work and even take care of his daily needs. Prompt medical care is essential to avoid the irreversible damage that can be caused by these injuries or their complications, such as swelling of the brain and hemorrhaging. Some of the devastating consequences of these traumatic brain injuries include:

  • Problems with decision-making
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Balance and mobility issues
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Emotional problems
  • Coma
  • Death

What You Should Do If You Suffer a Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury

Because you may not experience symptoms of a coup-contrecoup brain injury right away, you want to seek prompt medical care anytime you were in a catastrophic accident to lessen the permanent consequences of your injuries. In addition, you need to protect your legal right to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma from the negligent party who caused your injuries. To learn more about your legal options, call our office today to schedule a free consultation.


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Bellevue Office
11900 NE 1st Street
Suite 300
Bellevue, WA 98005
Phone: (425) 289-1990
Fax: (425) 289-1991
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Bellevue Office
11900 NE 1st Street
Suite 300
Bellevue, WA 98005
Phone: (425) 289-1990
Fax: (425) 289-1991

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