PTSD and Car Accidents – What is the Connection?

PTSD and Car Accidents – What is the Connection?

PTSD and Car Accidents – What is the Connection?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and car accidents are not uncommon, given that a serious car crash can result in trauma that impacts a victim’s life for the short- or long-term. PTSD is one of those “invisible” illnesses that some people believe does not exist. Those involved in a car accident that results in a PTSD diagnosis may have a more difficult time recovering compensation from those who were negligent because of the nature of this type of illness. A law firm in Georgia recently published a really informative article on why PTSD is overlooked often when a lawyer is considering a car accident victim’s damages.

Victims wanting to learn more about PTSD and car accidents may want to consider visiting with a personal injury lawyer.

Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Those who suspect they have PTSD after being involved in a car accident must get a medical diagnosis in order to build a solid personal injury case. Symptoms vary from one person to another and may include:

  1. Depression and/or anxiety
  2. Social isolation or self-destructive behavior
  3. Hostility, agitation, hypervigilance, or irritability
  4. Fear, severe mistrust, flashbacks of the accident
  5. Nightmares, insomnia, or other sleep issues
  6. Guilt
  7. Loneliness
  8. Loss of pleasure in activities or hobbies once enjoyed
  9. Unwanted thoughts
  10. Emotional detachment

PTSD and car accidents often occur simultaneously. Many victims diagnosed with PTSD find it difficult or impossible to drive a vehicle or even ride as a passenger. Others may operate a vehicle but experience extreme fear when making a left-hand turn or being in a situation similar to the one they experienced in a car accident. Trauma affects every aspect of an individual’s life including work, daily routines, family engagement, and relationships. A car accident attorney may be able to help victims collect compensation of medical, pain and suffering, lost income, and other costs related to the accident.

Factors That Increase the Risk of PTSD reports that “motor vehicle accidents are leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population“. On average, there are more than six million motor vehicle accidents that result in more than 2.5 million injuries for those involved. Nearly 40% of car accident survivors develop post-traumatic stress disorder according to studies from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The risk of developing PTSD is increased when one or more of the following factors exist:

  1. Increased levels of guilt, fear, shame, horror, helplessness, or other emotions during the car accident or immediately after
  2. A lack of social support following the car accident or other traumatic event
  3. Previous issues with psychological adjustment
  4. Sense of detachment or severe disconnection from reality during or immediately following a car accident or other traumatic event
  5. Prior trauma history
  6. Perceived threat to life of self or others involved in the traumatic event
  7. Family history of mental health issues
  8. Those with questions regarding PTSD and car accidents may want to consider visiting with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Treatment for PTSD Following a Car Accident

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may develop days, weeks, or even months following a car accident. For some people, PTSD may last for years. That said, there are treatments that can reduce or eliminate the symptoms so that victims can live a more normal life. Treatment may include any or all of the following:

  1. Counseling
  2. Medications for anxiety and depression
  3. Cognitive or behavioral therapy
  4. Psychotherapy
  5. Developing coping skills and identifying triggers
  6. Some individuals may have severe PTSD which requires admission to a facility for treatment, however most victims benefit from taking prescription medications and attending counseling and therapy on an outpatient basis.

Damages for PTSD Caused by a Car Accident

Victims of car accidents who develop PTSD may be entitled to compensation of both economic and non-economic damages. Because it is a psychological injury, it is vital to keep a copy of all records and documents regarding diagnosis and treatment in order to recover damages, which may include:
Cost of diagnosing and treating PTSD including therapy, medication, and counseling

  1. Lost income or wages
  2. Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
  3. Mental anguish or emotional distress
  4. Cost of treatment of PTSD in an inpatient facility

Victims of car accidents who suffer physical injuries are often entitled to compensation. While emotional injuries are invisible, they are just as real as physical injuries.

Consider Scheduling a Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney

Seeking medical attention is vital for those who experience symptoms of PTSD. Without proper treatment, this disorder can disrupt your life in ways you never imagined. Those responsible for the car accident should be held liable for their negligence. A compassionate car accident attorney who is skilled and knowledgeable in PTSD and car accidents may provide legal guidance and support to victims. is a highly localized attorney directory that includes comprehensive information about lawyers that we have verified are local to Orange County based on their profile with the California Bar.

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