Can a Car Accident Cause PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t talked about often enough in the context of car accidents. Studies show that over 22% of those involved in a car accident will suffer from PTSD. PTSD is just as real and serious as physical injuries to crash victims. Below you’ll find information about PTSD, how it relates to car accidents, and what you can do if you are suffering from PTSD after a car accident.

What is PTSD? 

Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that occurs after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. People with PTSD often experience intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings that last long after the traumatic event. Not everyone who has PTSD has the same symptoms. Symptoms vary in intensity depending on the person and their history but may include:

  • Dissociation
  • Avoidant Behavior
  • Detachment and Isolation
  • Hypervigilance and Hypersensitivity
  • Intrusive Thoughts
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Mood swings and instability
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Agoraphobia (fear of certain places or situations that may cause helplessness, panic, or embarrassment)
  • Insomnia
  • Memory problems and lack of focus

How a Car Accident Can Trigger PTSD

PTSD is tied to a person’s reaction to an event rather than the severity of the event itself. Therefore, even minor crashes can leave an everlasting impact on someone.

For accidents resulting in severe injury or death, victims often have traumatic responses that can manifest into PTSD. Other variables such as recovery time and whether a victim has a prior history of traumatic experiences can impact whether a victim will suffer from PTSD as well. 

PTSD is real, and those suffering deserve help. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the listed symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is critical to allow for intervention and prevent more significant symptoms from developing.

Can I be Compensated for PTSD After an Accident?

If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD after a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, psychological disorders are challenging to prove. Often, the defense will use this to their advantage to devalue your claim. PTSD settlement amounts vary, and compensation depends on the specific details of your case.

Some examples of damages you might recover in a settlement related to PTSD after a car accident include:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Cost to see a physician, psychologist, or other mental health professionals
  • Travel to and from doctor appointments
  • Prescription medications
  • Treatment for other issues caused by PTSD, such as rehab for substance abuse
  • Cost of inpatient mental health treatment programs
  • Emotional distress

Placing a value on PTSD and the impact of its symptoms on your daily life would be part of a general damages award. In order to receive compensation for your suffering, testimony would be needed to establish:

  • Whether you’ve been appropriately diagnosed with PTSD;
  • Whether your condition is connected to the car accident in question (as opposed to another traumatic event); and
  • The prognosis (how long it may persist) and how this would be compensated.

Given the complex nature of PTSD and related car accident compensation claims, it’s essential to have your case reviewed by an experienced professional.  

Your Health is Our Priority

At Henson Fuerst, our lawyers know PTSD can be a crippling consequence of an accident. For over 45 years, our Raleigh car accident attorneys have been helping injury victims throughout North Carolina. Our experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys will help create a legal plan to strengthen your claim so you can focus on getting better.

Call us today at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form.

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