Car Accident PTSD: Signs, Symptoms, and Compensation

When you’ve been through a serious car accident, your first step will be to treat your physical injuries and then to make sure your vehicle is in good working order. It’s only later in the process that you might stop to think about the severe and devastating mental effects a traumatic car accident can cause. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, may be initially brushed off by many after a car accident, as there are so many other concerns to take care of. But PTSD after a car accident is not something that can be dismissed easily, and it may require extensive treatment to heal. The lawyers at Thistle Law understand that this kind of extensive psychological trauma after an accident can affect every aspect of your life unless treated. This post addresses some of the most common questions we’ve heard when discussing PTSD after a traumatic car accident

Can a Car Accident Cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

While many may not associate PTSD with a car accident, studies have shown that somewhere between 22-40% of people will suffer from PTSD related to their accident. This highlights the need to address PTSD in car accident victims, and to make sure survivors know they are not alone.

PTSD is “a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster…(or) a serious accident” according to the American Psychiatric Association. The APA estimates that 3.5% of adults in the United States suffer from PTSD, and around 10% of adults will be diagnosed with PTSD at some point in their lives. 

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD is far more severe than the emotional distress that is common after any type of accident. People suffering from PTSD deal with numerous symptoms including:

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Dissociation
  • Avoidance issues
  • Detachment and alienation
  • Hypervigilance or hypersensitivity
  • Mood swings
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares

People who suffer from PTSD might not notice these symptoms immediately after the traumatic event, and everyone who experiences PTSD will experience their own unique symptoms. This kind of psychological trauma can sometimes take longer to heal than a broken bone, and requires the victim to undergo extensive treatment. 

PTSD can also be the cause of, or be associated with, additional side effects such as:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

Diagnosing and Treating PTSD After a Car Accident

If you suspect you may be suffering from PTSD after a car accident, you can obtain a diagnosis from a qualified mental health professional. The attorneys at Thistle Law can connect you to the resources that you need to get an official diagnosis and begin treatment for PTSD.

For a diagnosis of PTSD to be made, symptoms must typically last more than a month and cause significant distress and disruption to an individual’s daily functioning. Most symptoms will appear within three months of the traumatic event, but these symptoms may appear later and persist for months or even years. 

Treatment options include, but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy
  • Stress Inoculation Therapy
  • Medication

How to File a Successful PTSD Claim After a Car Accident

While PTSD isn’t always discussed after a car accident, it can be every bit as disruptive and life-altering as the physical injuries that someone suffers. But proving a psychological disorder can be challenging, and insurance companies will take advantage of this. You will need to speak with a skilled attorney who can help you prove the extent of harm caused by PTSD in your life, and that your PTSD was caused by the accident in question. 

PTSD settlements may include medical expenses, costs associated with a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, costs for medications, treatment for any issues that were caused by the PTSD, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. But in order to file claims for these expenses, you will need to prove that those costs stem from your car accident. The lawyers at Thistle Law can help you successfully file your claim and connect you with the resources you need to begin healing. Call our office today at 215-525-6824 or reach out via our contact form.

Leave a Comment