A: Yes. In fact, Minnesota has a statute for this. It is a very common misconception that a person cannot have a brain injury if there has not been a loss of consciousness. While it is true that most people with a significant brain injury will have suffered a loss of consciousness or a period of altered consciousness following trauma, such is not always the case.
In addition, we will commonly see it reported in the emergency room or ambulance records that there was no loss of consciousness. The ambulance crew does not have the luxury and the emergency room physicians do not have the opportunity to interview witnesses to the accident in its immediate aftermath. They are left to rely on the report of the injured person when making a determination of whether there was a loss of consciousness or altered consciousness.
The Importance of Careful Questioning
Witnesses at the scene will often confirm either that the person had in fact lost consciousness or was otherwise displaying signs of disorientation or confusion. Very careful questioning of the injured person can also disclose that there was a loss of consciousness. For example, the last memory the injured person has before a collision might be of something that happened seconds or minutes before the collision. The very next memory might be of emergency personnel standing outside the door of the vehicle.
While the injured person does not know that consciousness was lost, questioning indicates that it was and gives some insight into how long the person was unconscious. Also, a person can appear conscious and function as though fully conscious but have no memory for a specific period of time. It is as if the record button was not depressed for a period of time. This period of amnesia can also indicate altered consciousness and be instrumental in determining insult to the brain when it otherwise was not apparent.