PTSD Following a Car Accident
Nearly 3 million people are injured each year in car accidents, which equals about 1 percent of the total US population. Along with physical injuries, there can be emotional trauma following a severe crash that may have been life-threatening, caused substantial injuries, or resulted in the death of a loved one.
Though most accident victims recover quickly or do not suffer any mental health problems that require professional treatment, a significant minority of victims experience a major form of depression and anxiety called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD
The National Center for PTSD estimates that up to 45 percent of crash victims suffer some form of PTSD, a major form of anxiety. It is not unusual for some victims to begin experiencing symptoms months or even years after the traumatic event. Symptoms include:
- Recurrent and distressing memories of the traumatic event
- Major depression
- Physical reactions to reminders of the event
- Avoiding places, activities or people who are reminders of the event
- Irritable outbursts
- Feelings of overwhelming guilt
- Feelings of malaise and disinterest in engaging in usual activities
- Trouble sleeping or concentrating
- Easily startled
- Reluctance to drive under certain circumstances—heavy traffic, rainy weather or other situations that remind the victim of the traumatic event
- Engaging in self-destructive behavior such as excessive drinking
There are some variables that health care providers or psychologists acknowledge as creating a heightened risk for PTSD. These include:
- Severity of the accident
- Degree of physical injury
- If it was a potential life threatening event
- Loss of friends or family members in the accident
- Rate of physical recovery
- Level of social and emotional support from friends and family
- Encouragement and ability to return to activities engaged in before the accident
It is essential that accident victims receive an early diagnosis and promptly receive treatment to avoid long-term suffering.
Proving PTSD in a Car Accident Claim
Psychological trauma can be as devastating and catastrophic as any serious physical injury. Since emotional trauma is subjective and not verifiable by standard diagnostic tools used to detect physical injuries, insurance adjusters are naturally skeptical of such claims and will demand substantial and credible evidence.
A victim who was in a traumatic accident, who suffered serious injuries, experienced the loss of a loved one, who has sought psychological treatment, been diagnosed by psychologists and psychiatrists and has exhibited classic symptoms should be entitled to considerable compensation.
PTSD sufferers may also be unable to continue with their usual employment or have difficulty holding a job. In any event, the collateral consequences of PTSD may not be evident for months following an accident. Consequently, if you are experiencing PTSD, it is essential that you retain an experienced personal injury attorney and not settle your claim too early or for an amount that does not compensate you for your trauma.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident? Call Us Today!
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one in a fatal crash, you need a dedicated team of attorneys and legal professionals fighting for your rights. Our attorneys have a long and proven record of helping the victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve.
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