Can You Suffer PTSD After a Car Accident?

Posted on: December 7, 2022

Car accidents can be life changing. The cost to repair or replace your vehicle or other damaged property may be financially devastating. Injuries may require extensive medical treatment. Other lasting effects are psychological, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

Despite popular belief, it is not just military in combat scenarios who are at risk of developing PTSD. The American Psychological Association (APA) published a book on the emotional effects of motor vehicle accidents. It says, among other things, that car accidents are a leading cause of PTSD among the civilian population.

What Is PTSD?

This mental health disorder develops after someone sees or experiences a traumatic event. A fight-or-flight reaction awakens in the body, increasing alertness, blood pressure, heart rate, and other functions. For people with PTSD, these sensations do not go away over time.

Symptoms of PTSD fall under four categories. There is re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts. Avoidance symptoms, where someone tries to hold back memories of the event, include staying away from places or situations related to the trauma. Arousal symptoms keep the person on constant alert for danger, leading to insomnia, increased startle reactions, and outbursts of anger. Mood changes include feelings of guilt, trouble concentrating, and loss of interest in things previously enjoyed.

Is PTSD Treatable?

The APA conducted a study of people who sought treatment for PTSD after experiencing a car accident. Those who participated in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) experienced milder symptoms and easier day-to-day functioning in both the long and short term.

Treatments related to CBT which may also prove helpful include cognitive processing therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Additional supports such as medication aid some PTSD patients with other diagnoses, such as depression.

Can I Get Compensation for PTSD After a Car Accident?

Psychological injuries are the same as physical ones after a car accident. Both change daily life, how you travel, your ability to work, and the way you interact with others. PTSD may fall under non-economic damages. It can be challenging, however, to translate anguish into dollar amounts. Economic damages, such as medical bills, are easier to calculate.

How Can I Establish My PTSD Is From a Car Accident?

After an accident, seek mental health treatment as soon as possible. A professional will confirm your diagnosis, the severity of your PTSD, and whether your symptoms started after the accident. Keeping a journal can also help. In addition to managing your thoughts and emotions, it can document signs of trauma, such as flashbacks, and intensity and frequency.

Neptune Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Advocate for Accident Survivors Who Have PTSD

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may be coping with serious trauma, mental health expenses, and more. Reach out to one of our Neptune car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova for legal assistance. To schedule a free consultation, fill out our online form or call us at 732-705-3363. We have offices located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients in Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.