Are You Suffering From PTSD After a Car Accident?
David Muñoz | May 20, 2021 | Car Accidents
When a person is involved in a car accident, the primary focus is on the person’s physical injuries. Physicians, nurses, and other medical staff members rush to stabilize, diagnose, and treat the physical injuries. However, as the patient heals from those injuries, symptoms of psychological injuries may appear, including PTSD.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a diagnosable mental health disorder. Some individuals who experience a traumatic situation develop PTSD.
Examples of situations that could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder include:
- Being involved in an accident, such as a car crash, construction accident, or slip and fall accident
- Sustaining an injury because of a defective product or medical malpractice
- Being the victim of a sexual assault, crime, or other violent act
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Surviving a natural disaster or active military combat
Some individuals who witness acts of violence or trauma, such as a wrongful death, could also develop PTSD. Researchers have discovered that a person who is involved in a severe car accident has an increased risk of developing PTSD. Traffic accidents are a leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD after a car accident can have a significant impact on your daily life. The symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating. You might have trouble working or performing daily tasks.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident?
The symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, fear, insomnia, and mood swings. A person may also develop other mental health disorders that accompany PTSD, such as depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse. After a car crash, there could be several signs that indicate you have PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD after a car accident include:
- Flashbacks or nightmares of the car accident
- Severe anxiety when riding in a vehicle
- Inability to get into a car or drive a vehicle
- Feeling tense or on edge
- Staying away from places that remind you of the car accident, such as taking a route that avoids the crash area
- Feeling guilt or blame
- Having trouble remembering things about the car wreck
- Becoming upset or having a breakdown when you hear sirens
- Refusing to talk about the traffic accident or your injuries
- Isolating yourself from your family and friends
- Having no interest in your favorite activities or places
- Sudden angry outbursts, crying spells, and other sudden mood swings
- Problems with memory, focus, and concentration
PTSD manifests itself in unique ways for different people. A trained physician can diagnose PTSD by analyzing your symptoms.
Parents need to watch for signs of PTSD in children who were involved in a car accident. Children may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder after a crash.
Treatments for PTSD After a Car Crash
There are several treatments your physician may recommend for PTSD. He may also recommend treatment for additional conditions that develop because of PTSD.
Medication such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications can help control some of the symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe cognitive therapy, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and counseling. Trained professionals can help you learn coping skills and how to identify triggers that cause PTSD symptoms to worsen.
Can I Recover Damages for PTSD Caused by a Car Accident?
Yes, you can recover compensation for PTSD by filing a personal injury claim, including:
- The cost of diagnosing and treating PTSD and related conditions, including medications, therapy costs, and physicians’ bills
- Cost of inpatient treatment for PTSD, including hospital stays and therapy
- Loss of benefits and income if you are unable to work
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
- Cost of help with household chores and caring for children
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish and emotional distress caused by PTSD
The value of your damages depends on the severity of your symptoms and other factors related to the car accident. If you were partially at fault for the car crash, your compensation could be reduced under California’s pure comparative fault laws.
Documenting your symptoms and damages is essential for recovering fair compensation for your PTSD claim. As soon as you experience symptoms of emotional distress, contact your physician. Report all symptoms to your doctors so that they can document them in your medical records.
Keeping a journal or log can also be helpful. Write down when you experience anxiety, depression, or other signs of PTSD. Record all of the things that PTSD prevents you from doing. It can also be helpful for family members and friends to write down how drastically you have changed since the car crash.
A car accident lawyer can give you additional advice and guidance on the best way to document your PTSD for a personal injury claim. An attorney can also help you take steps to protect your legal right to compensation for damages caused by a motor vehicle accident.