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Why do we forget traumatic events?

You get into a car accident, but you have no idea what happened. You only know you were in a car accident because they tell you about it at the hospital. Your family members even come in and show you pictures of your car, which was completely destroyed in the wreck. They tell you that you're lucky to be alive.

But why can't you remember it? You do remember getting into the car and backing out of your driveway, but there's nothing after that. What happened?

There are a few potential reasons. One is a brain injury. If you suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury) in the wreck, there is a chance that even minor damage is going to make it impossible for you to ever recall what happened to you.

In times of trauma, your brain also focuses on keeping you alive. It could be that you didn't store those memories because your brain knew you were fighting for your life and it had to focus on more important functions.

On top of that, experts have noted that your brain, in order to protect itself, sometimes disconnects during traumatic events.

"There is a belief that there is a threshold of trauma where the human brain cannot overcome without dissociation," one expert noted. "Age, genetic factors and environment can contribute to how high that person's threshold is and how their brain responds to severe trauma."

Whether you can remember the crash or not -- memories do sometimes come back over time -- the reality is that you're facing high medical bills and many other costs. Make sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation.

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