There are millions of motor vehicle traffic accidents every year, and the number of accidents continues to increase. These crashes can result in fatalities, injuries, and property damage. Not only do car crashes cause injuries and property damage, they often result in psychological harm. People who have been involved in an accident have an increased risk of developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Studies have found that about 25-33% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD after their crash. This means that millions of people in the United States may be suffering from PTSD related to an accident. PTSD after a car crash is very common. If you may be suffering from PTSD after an automobile accident and have questions about your legal options, contact an experienced car crash attorney now.
What is PTSD and what are the symptoms of PTSD after a car crash?
PTSD is a serious psychological condition, and it can occur after a traumatic event. Traumatic events usually involve the threat of death, actual or serious injury to yourself or the threat of death or physical injury to someone else.
The symptoms of PTSD after a car crash can include:
- Having intrusive and troubling thoughts about the accident;
- Having disturbing dreams about the accident;
- Avoiding scenarios related to the accident, including a reluctance to drive, or staying away from the scene of the accident;
- Experiencing a numbing of emotional responses, including feeling fewer emotions or feeling detached from your emotions; and
- Feeling increased physical sensations, such as irritability, tension, anxiety and, inability to sleep.
While many car crash survivors have an emotional reaction to the accident, PTSD is a more extreme condition than feelings of sadness or stress. It is not only emotionally difficult, PTSD can be physically debilitating as well. It can affect a person’s ability to perform job functions as well as everyday tasks.
How common is PTSD after a car Crash and is it related to other problems?
PTSD occurs in about a third of car crash victims. It appears that some people are more likely to develop PTSD after a serious car crash than others. The following factors can increase your likelihood of experiencing PTSD after an accident:
- Prior trauma, such as assault, rape, terrorism, other car accidents, and natural disasters
- Working as a first responder and witnessing other traumatic events
- Underlying mental issues
- Believing your life was in danger from the accident
- Whether you or someone else was injured during the accident
- The availability of support after the accident
Car crash related PTSD is correlated to developing other physical and psychological issues. About half of those who are diagnosed with PTSD also experience major depression or another mood disorder at the same time. People who are suffering from PTSD as the result of a serious car accident are also more likely to experience anxiety and develop substance abuse disorders.
Additionally, two-thirds of people who suffer from car crash related PTSD experience chronic pain that is a result of their accident. It appears that people who suffer from a physical injury are more likely to develop PTSD after an accident. Physical injuries can significantly affect victim’s lifestyles and daily activities, and cause debilitating headaches and other pain. Thus, if you experienced from physical injuries as a result of the accident, you are more likely to develop PTSD after your accident.
What can I do to help my feelings of trauma after an accident?
While PTSD can be physically and mentally debilitating, there are steps you can take to feel better.
- Find a therapist to talk to about the accident. A counselor can provide a safe space for you to process the accident and the feelings it has caused in the aftermath.
- See your doctor. Because PTSD often occurs concurrently with chronic pain and other psychological issues, your doctor is a vital part of your recovery. He or she can provide appropriate medications and referrals to physical therapy or other specialists as appropriate.
- Return to your regular activities and routines. PTSD can cause you to avoid things you enjoy, and can contribute to you developing anxiety or depression. By doing what you can to enjoy life, you will be able to heal more quickly.
If you continue to struggle with PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression, you may notice that you are relying more on alcohol or drugs. If this is the case, make sure to reach out to your doctor for help.
What are my legal options?
PTSD can be incredibly disruptive to your life, both physically and mentally. It can affect your ability to perform your job, as well as your ability to enjoy your day-to-day life. The person who caused your accident can be held liable for your emotional trauma. An experienced car crash attorney can help you recover financial compensation for not only your medical bills, but also your emotional turmoil.
Reach out right away to schedule a consultation.