PTSD After a Car Accident

car accident causing post traumatic stress disorder

What you’ll learn reading this article:

  1. PTSD, though long associated with combat, is now seen more in the US general population in cases of motor vehicle accidents. 
  2. PTSD can affect all aspects of a person’s life and should be taken seriously. 
  3. If you suffer from PTSD as a result of a car accident, you may be qualified to seek financial compensation.  

You have probably heard of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, but may not know all that it entails. While society has long discussed and portrayed PTSD as a very real condition affecting combat veterans, the leading cause of PTSD in the United States today is actually motor vehicle accidents.

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that affects a person’s mental health after they witness or experience an event that causes trauma. The event’s trauma may be mental, physical, or a combination of the two, and oftentimes will result in depression and anxiety in the sufferer as well.

Because of the fear and bodily harm often involved in car accidents, it is no wonder that they have become the leading cause of PTSD in the United States. It is estimated that there are approximately 6 million auto accidents a year in the US, and in 2018 there were 36,560 deaths from motor vehicle accidents. 858 of those 2018 vehicular deaths occurred in Indiana.

Signs of PTSD

Everyone processes trauma differently, and even being in a relatively minor car accident can result in PTSD. It is important to understand the signs of PTSD in order to seek medical attention before they begin to alter your life.

Here are some of the common symptoms of PTSD:

  • Flashbacks resulting in panic or severe anxiety
  • Nightmares and/or difficulty sleeping
  • Intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts about the incident
  • Physical reactions to triggers (reminders of the traumatic event) such as increased heart rate, sweating, and nausea
  • Amnesia or difficulty remembering aspects of the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of activities linked to the traumatic event, such as driving on the highway or being a passenger in a car
  • A heightened or overactive startle response, such as jumping when someone touches you or after hearing an unexpected noise
  • Lack of enjoyment out of everyday activities and favorite pastimes
  • Irritability, changes in mood, and aggression

Unlike some injuries that will be readily apparent at the scene of the accident, PTSD may not make itself known right away. Sometimes it may take weeks or months to appear, or may not appear until a particular trigger occurs or even until the anniversary of the accident.

Can I Be Compensated for PTSD?

If you were in an accident with another vehicle in which the other driver was at-fault, and later suffer from PTSD, you may qualify for compensation in the form of:

  • Medical bills such as those for therapy, counseling, and treatment
  • Lost wages and future wages if you are unable to complete your duties or return to work
  • Pain and suffering from the condition

Each car accident case is different, and qualified and experienced attorneys like those at PBAR can help you understand the ins and outs of your specific case. Our free case review allows you to weigh your options and better understand what moving forward would entail.

Resources for PTSD

The risks of suicide, substance abuse, and self-harm are higher in individuals suffering from PTSD than in others. If you suspect you are experiencing PTSD after a car accident, please speak to your healthcare provider as soon as possible. You are not alone in your suffering and you deserve help without shame.

If you are in need of immediate help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Additional helpful resources include:

Indianapolis Resources:

Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery—Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses.

Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%*, and we fight to win your case or you pay no attorney fees at all. Don’t hesitate—one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away.

Call (800) 265-9881 for a free case review.