After a traumatic car accident, the effects extend beyond physical injuries alone. The emotional distress that may follow a crash can have a significant impact on your life. These issues can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious mental health condition. PTSD from a car accident is unfortunately more common than many people are aware. One study from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that 39.2% of crash survivors developed PTSD. If you are experiencing this issue after a traffic accident, you are not alone. You may also be entitled to compensation if another person’s negligence caused the collision.
Signs of PTSD to Be Aware Of
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of PTSD and seek help if you begin to notice these signs. This condition may begin to develop immediately after the accident or may be delayed.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Intrusion: The first cluster of symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is intrusion. This means re-experiencing the traumatic event in some way. This can include replaying the accident over and over in your head, recurring nightmares about the crash, and/or extreme distress when exposed to reminders of the incident. In severe cases, you may experience flashbacks, which are moments when it feels as though the accident is occurring again.
- Avoidance: This category includes any behaviors done to avoid people, places, and situations related to the traumatic event. In the case of car accidents, this often includes a reluctance to drive or be in a motor vehicle. It can also include avoiding thoughts of the accident.
- Negative Alterations in Mood: If you are experiencing PTSD from a car accident, you may notice a variety of different negative effects on your mood and cognition. Examples include persistent fear/anger/shame, feeling detached from others, negative beliefs about the world or about yourself, and/or a lack of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable.
- Alterations in Reactivity: PTSD can cause you to be more reactive and feel constantly on guard. This can make it difficult to concentrate, lead to increased anger/irritability, and/or cause problems sleeping.
In order to get a diagnosis of PTSD, these symptoms need to persist for one month or longer following the traumatic event. However, any symptoms that are having a negative effect on your life are worth addressing. Even if the diagnosis of PTSD does not ultimately apply, a mental health professional can help you manage your emotions and stress following a car accident.
PTSD and Personal Injury
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence and developed PTSD as a result, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. Many people associate personal injury with only physical issues, but mental health conditions can definitely influence your case and should be considered in determining your compensation. A PTSD diagnosis can be considered as pain and suffering and treatment also falls under the category of economic damages.
Get The Help You Need After a Traumatic Car Crash
In addition to seeking professional help for any mental or physical effects of an accident, you should consider working with a lawyer to address the financial impacts of your injury. Our attorneys will fight for you so you can focus on healing.