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What Happens if You Get PTSD After a Car Accident?

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January 18, 2024 Car Accidents

Contrary to what you may believe, car accidents don’t just result in physical injury. Collision victims regularly suffer mental and emotional consequences, along with their injuries. Dealing with the mental and physical effects of a car accident can take a toll on your life and well-being.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the common mental health conditions that can result from a car accident. If you suffered harm in a collision and were diagnosed with PTSD, a car accident lawyer can fight diligently to hold the responsible party accountable and get you the compensation you deserve.

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Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What Happens if You Get PTSD After a Car Accident

Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD for short, is a mental health condition that arises from either experiencing or witnessing a stressful, devastating event. The intrusive effects of PTSD can make it challenging to lead a normal life.

It’s not uncommon for victims of traumatic events to need some time to cope and get back to normal. They may experience mental and emotional struggles and require some time to adjust. Nonetheless, with some time, patience, and self-care, people often recover and can successfully move on.

PTSD is different. The condition doesn’t typically go away on its own with time. If you’re dealing with serious mental and emotional issues that seem to worsen and interfere with your day-to-day life, there’s a chance you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you believe you may be suffering from PTSD, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Countless individuals suffer from PTSD and get the help they need to manage it. It should never be ignored. Reaching out and getting the right treatment is key.

Common Symptoms of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder can result in a wide variety of symptoms. Everyone is unique and experiences PTSD differently.

Some of the common signs of post-traumatic stress disorder include:

Common Symptoms of PTSD

  • Flashbacks: After experiencing a serious event, it’s common to have flashbacks. Something may trigger the flashback, making you feel as though you’re reliving the event over again.
  • Intrusive memories: Intrusive memories can be upsetting. You may experience memories of the event frequently, nightmares having to do with the accident, or even severe emotional or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event.
  • Avoidance: Avoidance involves trying to avoid anything that reminds you of the accident, including people, places, and activities. While this may not seem significant, it can interfere with your life, especially if you’re avoiding getting into a vehicle.
  • Changes in thoughts and mood: PTSD can bring up negative thoughts and moods, like hopelessness, feeling detached, and lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy before your accident.
  • Depression: Depression can cause its own symptoms, including extreme feelings of sadness, angry outbursts, and fatigue. Still, many of the signs of depression closely mimic those of PTSD. It’s not uncommon to suffer from both mental health issues after an accident.
  • Anxiety: Along with depression, accident victims may also experience anxiety. Your collision may bring about significant anxiety, especially when it comes to vehicles and getting behind the wheel again. Anxiety can make it challenging to participate in daily activities.
  • Sleep disturbances: PTSD sufferers regularly experience sleep disturbances. You may struggle to fall asleep and/or stay asleep and might experience uncomfortable nightmares that make it difficult to rest. Contrarily, some individuals sleep more than normal to avoid facing their feelings.
  • Startling easily: After an accident, any little thing may startle you. For example, a loud noise or the sound of screeching tires may make you jumpy, as they can remind you of your collision.

If you suffer from significant post-traumatic stress disorder, the symptoms can make it hard to live life as you once did. Your symptoms may interfere with your overall well-being and ability to participate in activities, maintain relationships, and socialize.

Diagnosis and Treatment of PTSD

PTSD does require a formal diagnosis. When you see your primary physician, they will likely perform a physical examination to help rule out any medical problems that may be causing your symptoms.

You can visit with a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help evaluate you mentally to determine whether you’re suffering from PTSD. These individuals can perform your psychological evaluation, which includes digging deep and discussing symptoms and the events that led to these symptoms.

Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder is available. The right treatment for you depends on the severity of your symptoms.

Treatment for PTSD includes:

  • Therapy, including cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), or group therapy
  • Medications, like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication

Additionally, it is helpful to seek support from trusted individuals, including family and friends. You and your loved ones can learn more about PTSD, how to manage it, and how to take care of yourself to help achieve success with treatment.

There is no telling how long an accident victim will experience PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD may only last a few short months but can also last forever. The important part is receiving a diagnosis and working with healthcare professionals to determine your treatment plan. With the right treatment, the symptoms of PTSD are manageable.

Is it Really Possible to Get PTSD After a Car Accident?

Is it Really Possible to Get PTSD After a Car Accident

Some may think you can only develop post-traumatic stress disorder after a particularly devastating event, like war or an act of violence. In reality, everyone is different, and you can get PTSD from various types of stressful events.

Trauma and stress are often subjective. What one person considers a catastrophic event may seem like nothing to another individual. Therefore, while a car accident may not cause one person any mental or emotional harm, a collision can cause another victim irreparable damage.

In short, yes, it is possible to develop post-traumatic stress disorder following a car accident. If you experienced an accident and believe you may exhibit signs of PTSD, do not hesitate to seek professional help. The sooner you get the attention you need, the better for your mental health and recovery.

Risk Factors for Developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder From a Vehicular Collision

Pretty much anyone can develop post-traumatic stress disorder after a serious event. However, certain individuals are more at risk for PTSD after a stressful accident.

Some of the common risk factors that can increase the likelihood of an accident victim developing PTSD include:

  • Previous traumatic experiences, especially during younger years
  • Suffering serious injuries or seeing someone severely hurt
  • Having little to no support after the accident
  • Dealing with additional stressors after the event, including having to care for a loved one, losing a loved one, or losing employment
  • History of mental illness or substance abuse

Like many other physical and mental conditions, genetics and family history can play a role.

It’s worth noting, however, that even if there is no history of mental health issues or any significant risk factors, it’s entirely possible to develop PTSD. If you get PTSD after a car accident, you should not wait to get the help you need.

Does Age Matter When it Comes to PTSD After a Car Accident?

Many believe that post-traumatic stress disorder only develops in older individuals. Unfortunately, children and teens can also suffer from PTSD after a traumatic event, like a car accident.

Specific factors heighten the chances of getting PTSD. For example, if the child suffers serious harm in the accident or sees a parent or loved one severely injured, it can be enough to shock them and cause substantial mental harm.

If your child developed post-traumatic stress disorder following a collision, you may take legal action on their behalf.

Signs You May Be Suffering from PTSD Following a Car Crash

It can be challenging to recognize the signs of PTSD and differentiate them from regular, everyday stress.

After a car accident, the following signs may indicate you might suffer from PTSD:

  • You’re having vivid flashbacks, whether provoked or unprovoked
  • You’re having trouble sleeping
  • You’re finding it difficult to concentrate
  • You refuse to drive a car or get into the passenger’s seat of someone else’s vehicle
  • You’re extra jumpy
  • You’re irritable and easily angered
  • You’re isolating yourself from others
  • You feel numb, depressed, and hopeless

Any of these issues can mean there’s a bigger issue you need to address. If you notice you don’t feel like yourself after a car crash, there’s no shame in getting proper attention from a skilled health professional. It’s better to address the condition head-on and treat it than ignore it and hope it goes away.

I’m Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After My Collision. What Next?

Following a car accident, you may be feeling many consequences of the event. You might have physical injuries to treat, your life may look a bit different, and you can also struggle with financial burdens. If you’re also dealing with PTSD, you may feel entirely overwhelmed and unsure of what to do.

When you develop post-traumatic stress disorder from a vehicular collision, you may have legal options. A car accident attorney can take on your compensation claim and work to get you the monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries, both physical and mental.

Following your car accident, you should consult with a skilled lawyer. An attorney can review your situation’s specifics to provide quality legal advice and guidance. Based on your losses, they can determine the value of your case and work toward getting you the best possible case result.

Can You Recover Damages for PTSD After a Car Accident?

Damages are financial compensation for the injuries and losses you suffer from an accident. Compensatory damages can be economic, covering your economic and non-economic losses, representing your intangible losses.

Your damages are based on the details of your accident, injuries, and related losses. You may be eligible to recover for various things, from medical expenses and rehabilitation to pain and suffering and disability.

While post-traumatic stress disorder is not a tangible loss, it is very real. Your car accident attorney can help collect strong evidence to prove you’re suffering from PTSD and collect damages for that and any other psychological condition you’ve developed as a result of your collision.

A PTSD diagnosis isn’t just difficult on you mentally and emotionally, but also financially. It is not fair for you to shoulder the monetary burdens of your accident-induced PTSD, including therapy and medications.

Therefore, you can rely on your accident lawyer to fight aggressively to get adequate compensation to cover your losses.

How to Pursue Compensation for Your Collision-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The route you take toward financial recovery depends on your case. For car accidents, it is common to begin by filing a car insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Based on the outcome of your claim, you may need to file a lawsuit against the insurance company to get the compensation you deserve.

In other cases, you may forgo a collision claim and file a personal injury lawsuit instead. Personal injury law helps protect victims injured by another party’s negligent or intentional actions or omissions, allowing you the opportunity to fight for justice and monetary recovery.

Getting started is often one of the hardest parts. When you hire a car accident attorney, you don’t have to worry about navigating your claim alone. Your lawyer can determine the best course of action to get you a beneficial outcome and do everything necessary to help get you there.

A Car Accident Attorney Can Fight for Your Right to Fair Compensation for Your PTSD

Keith Fuicelli, Car Accident Attorney in Denver

Keith Fuicelli, Car Accident Lawyer

If you’re suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident, you’re not alone. When you feel overwhelmed and confused, a car accident lawyer can provide the support and clarity you need during a challenging time.

Hiring a personal injury attorney in Denver means not taking on your legal battles alone. You can feel confident knowing your case is in capable hands and you have someone representing your best interests from beginning to end.