4265 San Felipe # 1000
Houston, TX 77027


What Is a Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury?

Coup Contrecoup Brain Injury

Table of Contents

A traumatic brain injury is one of the most severe, life-threatening injuries a person can sustain following a car accident, motorcycle accident, or even a slip and fall accident. One type of brain injury is called a coup-contrecoup brain injury.

Many people hear the terms coup injury, contrecoup injury, or coup-contrecoup injury and assume that these are medical terms used to describe one specific type of traumatic brain injury. However, these terms are simply in place to reference where the brain injury occurred, relative to the point of impact.

A coup brain injury occurs when the bruises or contusions on the brain are located directly below the point of trauma. A contrecoup injury occurs when the bruises or contusions on the brain are directly opposite of the point of trauma. And, a coup-contrecoup injury occurs when there are bruises or contusions on the brain in both locations.

All of these traumatic brain injuries describe non-penetrating head injuries. Coup, contrecoup, and coup-contrecoup injuries are most commonly associated with blunt force trauma, a sports injury, a fall, or the force associated with a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident.

At Reich & Binstock, our Houston traumatic brain injury attorneys have been helping those who were injured by third party negligence for decades. Our compassionate brain injury lawyers have the experience, resources, and dedication required to help you seek just compensation and to litigate on your behalf in court, if necessary. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t owe us anything unless your claim is successful. Call a Houston traumatic brain injury attorney today at 713-622-7271 for your free consultation.

What Is the Difference Between a Coup, Contrecoup, and Coup-Contrecoup Injury?

what is a coup contrecoup brain injury

Coup Brain Injury

Coup injuries are brain injuries that present directly below the site of impact on the person’s brain.

Medical professions note the surface cuts, bruises, contusions, or other outside physical marks to pinpoint the location of the impact. The trauma associated with coup injuries can range from relatively mild to severe brain injuries, including bruising on the brain, brain swelling, and hemorrhaging. A coup injury occurs when there’s enough trauma that the brain collides with the point of impact but not enough trauma to cause the brain to “bounce” inside the skull.

Contrecoup Brain Injury

Contrecoup injuries are brain injuries that affect the opposite side of the impact. These types of brain injuries are often misdiagnosed or overlooked, simply due to their location. Contrecoup brain injuries typically occur when a strong force or blow causes a person’s brain to strike the side of their skull on the opposite side from the actual impact site.

Contrecoup brain injuries are most commonly caused by rollover accidents, motorcycle accidents, and severe eighteen wheeler accidents. And, if contrecoup injuries are not identified, diagnosed, and treated quickly, they can pose serious health risks for victims.

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury

Coup-contrecoup brain injuries are the most severe brain injuries, as they affect both sides of the brain. This means that there is damage in the brain directly under the site of initial impact as well as damage on the opposite side of the skull impact.

Coup-contrecoup brain injuries are also often missed or misdiagnosed. This typically results in one area (the coup injury) receiving proper medical attention, while the other injury (the contrecoup injury) being overlooked.

When a person sustains a coup-contrecoup brain injury, they are at an increased risk for permanent brain damage.

What Causes Coup-Contrecoup Injuries?

coup contrecoup brain injuries

Coup-contrecoup injuries occur when a serious force or a blow to the skull leads to brain damage or brain injury.

Here are some of the most common ways that a person could sustain a coup-contrecoup injury:

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

The most common causes of coup-contrecoup injuries are motor vehicle accidents, namely rollover car accidents and high speed car accidents. The faster and more aggressive the car accident, the higher the chances are of the victim sustaining a coup-contrecoup brain injury.

Most vehicle accidents are caused by speeding, fatigue, distractions, like texting and driving, or driving under the influence. Additionally, bad weather or bad road conditions can also cause a person to wreck their car.

In some cases, the person’s skull receives direct trauma from another vehicle, while in other cases, the person’s skull comes in direct contact with a heavy object. In either case, the impact causes the victim’s brain to rattle inside of his or her skull, and this leads to a coup-contrecoup injury.

The most common way that victims sustain a coup-contrecoup injury during a car accident is when their head hits their steering wheel or dashboard during the accident. When a car hits a stationary object or an object going in the opposite direction, the whiplash of the accident can send a person’s head into their steering wheel or dashboard. This results in the head trauma that occurs on both sides of the human brain.

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents

If a person falls and collides with a heavy object or surface on the way down, this can rattle the person’s brain, causing the brain to collide with the skull on the impacted side and then back to the opposite side of the skull, thus causing a coup-contrecoup brain injury.

Slip and fall accidents that were caused by the negligence of a business owner or property owner are referred to as premises liability accidents. If your fall was caused by third party neglect, you could file a personal injury claim to recover damages from the coup-contrecoup injury you sustained as a result of this negligence.

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries Caused by Sports Accidents

Many types of sports are notorious for their lasting effects on the body. Both concussions and traumatic brain injuries are very common in sports where the player’s brain can receive a severe blow, with or without a helmet.

While we have implemented many safety rules to help players avoid a traumatic brain injury, like a coup-contrecoup injury, there are still certain sports, such as football, rugby, gymnastics, and mixed martial arts, that are extremely dangerous.

While many younger players don’t truly grasp the repercussions of a severe traumatic brain injury, like a coup-contrecoup brain injury, they essentially agree to any injuries, regardless of how severe, as it is “just part of the game,” in many circumstances. Nobody wants to actually permanently injure their opponent.

However, if your coup-contrecoup injury occurred due to improper field or premises maintenance, then similarly to slip and fall cases, you can pursue damages for your injuries.

Concussions and Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries

coup contrecoup

The human brain has amazing capabilities. It consists of soft brain tissue and receives protection from both your skull and spinal fluid that surrounds the brain. Because our brains are such delicate organs, these structures are there to help protect it from harm. But, when someone is struck in the head with traumatic force or when a person’s head is slammed forward and backward in a car accident, the initial impact can cause the brain to move around inside of the skull.

If the impact is severe enough, a person’s brain can essentially slam into their skull, and if this momentum continues, the brain will jar back into the opposite side of their skull. This is what causes both coup and contrecoup injuries to be so strongly related to concussions.

Typically, medical professionals categorize concussions as mild traumatic brain injuries. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t serious injuries that can be extremely painful and affect a person’s daily life. Instead, this simply means that these injuries are not life threatening.

Even after a mild concussion, your brain will take some time to function normally again. Concussions can cause nausea, loss of vision or balance, confusion, and unconsciousness.

What are the Symptoms of a Coup-Contrecoup Injury?

Coup-contrecoup injuries can cause serious symptoms that tend to manifest in the days and in some cases, weeks following the head injury. Anyone who has received a significant blow to the head and chooses to ignore it puts themselves at risk for permanent brain damage from the head injury. Ignoring even a mild concussion can be life-threatening, especially if you sustain a second injury in the same general area before the initial coup-contrecoup injury has a chance to heal.

Related symptoms of a coup-contrecoup injury include:

  • dizziness
  • severe headaches
  • loss of consciousness
  • impaired concentration
  • memory loss
  • muscle weakness
  • ringing in the ears
  • sensitivity to light and/or loud noises
  • trouble comprehending language
  • trouble swallowing
  • vision issues

Why You Should Never Ignore Blunt Force Trauma To The Head

Concussions and traumatic brain injuries of any sort are serious injuries.

If you’ve recently been hit in the head and looked up “symptoms of traumatic brain injury” or “TBI symptoms,” then you know there are literally hundreds of symptoms that could manifest at the time of the injury or even weeks following the initial blunt force trauma. So, it’s all but impossible to determine whether or not you’ve sustained a severe injury. Regardless, you should never try to “shake it off” if you’re feeling bad. You could very well have a traumatic brain injury, like a coup-contrecoup injury, and you are risking permanent brain damage by ignoring it.

Even if you believe that you only have a mild concussion, this can be fatal if you hit your head in the same area before it is properly healed.

If your head hurts for more than a few minutes, feel nauseous, dizzy, or if you just don’t feel right, in general, you need to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

With head, brain, or any associated injuries, every minute can matter.

Similarly, coup and contrecoup injuries are extremely serious and should receive treatment immediately. These injuries can cause your brain to bleed (hematoma). They can also cause your brain to swell or cause problems with the flow of your cerebrospinal fluid, the liquid that protects your brain. It’s important to understand symptoms of a brain bleed after hitting your head so you’ll know the signs of this serious injury.

Additionally, coup-contrecoup injuries can cause skull fragments to enter your brain tissue or place pressure on the brain. Both are extremely dangerous. A serious head injury has the potential to become an incapacitating injury, which means that it impairs you even after you’ve fully healed.

Damages Caused by Coup, Contrecoup, and Coup-Contrecoup Injuries

coup contrecoup brain injury claim

Most coup-contrecoup injuries happen behind the forehead (in the frontal lobe) and underneath your temples (in the temporal lobe).

Over time, and in some cases, immediately, a coup or contrecoup injury can cause problems with speaking, language comprehension, and decision-making. And, depending on the severity of the injury and the way the brain moves, victims may also experience trouble swallowing, memory loss, impaired concentration, loss of balance or coordination, muscle weakness or paralysis, or sensory issues.

If you wished to pursue financial compensation, you could potentially receive the following damages in a coup-contrecoup injury claim:

Economic Damages for Coup and Contrecoup Injuries

A coup and contrecoup injury can leave lasting effects and can significantly reduce a victim’s quality of life. Many coup-contrecoup injuries alter a victim’s cognitive function permanently.

From our experience, any type of brain injury can lead to some of the most extreme economic damages possible.

Because of the long term debilitating effects of most injuries like this, the medical expenses for a coup-contrecoup injury are extremely extensive. Most of these injuries require specific medication, round-the-clock monitoring, and physical therapy to help restore as much cognitive functioning as possible.

When a person sustains a coup-contrecoup injury, more often than not, they lose their job and all income potential because of the debilitating damages inflicted.

Some of the economic damages associated with a coup-contrecoup injury include:

  • disability costs
  • medical expenses
  • lost wages and lost income earning potential
  • cost of physical therapy
  • property damage costs

Non Economic Damages for Coup and Contrecoup Injuries

Aside from the economic damages that one can suffer because of coup or contrecoup contusions, there are also non economic damages. These damages include factors that cannot easily receive a monetary value.

Dealing with a traumatic brain injury is painful. The mental anguish associated with head injuries alone can leave a negative impact on a person’s day-to-day life. For many injured victims, the negative pressure affects their social lives, relationships, and their general enjoyment of life. For many, their life will never be the same after a traumatic brain injury.

When a person suffers injuries because of someone else’s negligence, all of their damages combine, even if those damages aren’t easily quantifiable. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Reich & Binstock have decades of experience calculating both economic and non economic damages on behalf of our clients. If you’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury, like a coup-contrecoup injury, call our office as soon as possible for a free consultation. We may be able to help you receive compensation for your losses.

How Can a Coup-Contrecoup Injury Lawyer Help You Recover Damages?

The personal injury claims process can be more complicated when you’re recovering from a coup injury, contrecoup injury, or coup-contrecoup injury.

For starters, when you’re recovering from a head injury, pursuing compensation with an insurance company is terribly difficult because your brain is in no shape to handle in-depth legal questions or procedures.

Additionally, even if you wanted to handle matters yourself, for many victims, a coup-contrecoup injury will cause problems with cognitive function. This leaves you incapable of representing yourself in the personal injury claims process.

If you work with a reputable personal injury lawyer, he or she will use their experience to help you pursue financial compensation while you recover from your brain injury.

The following are just a few examples of how a personal injury attorney can help you with your coup-contrecoup injury lawsuit:

Determine the Negligent Party

Before you can recover compensation for your losses, your injury lawyer will need to determine who was at-fault. This simply means that he or she will need to figure out who caused your injuries.

Experienced attorneys will examine the specifics surrounding your accident and what ultimately caused your injury. They will determine whether or not your injury occurred due to negligence.

From here, they’ll assess the extent of your damages, calculate what your total compensation should be, and will send the demand letter to the correct insurance company.

Prove Liability

In order to receive compensation for your losses, your injury lawyer will also need to prove that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your injury. For some, the at-fault party may admit to their wrongdoing and accept the financial repercussions for their actions. But, unfortunately, this isn’t the case, most of the time.

Our injury lawyers can collect evidence such as photos, video footage, tickets, arrest records, witness testimonies, vehicle accident reconstructions, and medical records to help prove liability.

Negotiate a Fair Settlement

Insurance companies are “for-profit” entities, so they will likely try to limit your personal injury settlement in an attempt to improve their bottom line.

Many times, the insurance company will initially offer the plaintiff an extremely low settlement. But, when you have a reputable personal injury lawyer, they can improve your settlement by negotiating fair terms on your behalf.

Litigate On Your Behalf

If you can’t come to a fair agreement with the insurance company, then your personal injury lawyer will represent you in court. He or she will develop an organized plan to help prove that you deserve the compensation you’re fighting for.

Coup-Contrecoup Injury Claims

coup contrecoup injury claims

If you or someone you loved has suffered from a coup injury, a contrecoup injury, or a coup-contrecoup injury, the experienced Houston brain injury attorneys at Reich & Binstock are here to help. We have personal injury lawyers on staff who are qualified to handle these specific types of injury lawsuits in the area. We understand the lasting effects that a head injury can cause and know what the true value of your personal injury case should be.

Call us today at 713-622-7271 for your free case evaluation.

Contact Us For a Free Legal Consultation

There is never a fee unless we recover on your behalf.
Additionally, clients are not obligated to pay expenses if a recovery is not made.

Contact Us
*By clicking submit, you are providing express consent to be contacted by SMS, possibly using automated technology to the number you provided. If at any time you wish to opt-out of communication, please reply "STOP". Text "HELP" for help. Message frequency may vary. Message/data rates may apply. Submission of this form does not authorize the purchase of goods, services, or products. See the privacy policy/Terms and Conditions on the webpage.