ptsd after car accident

Can Auto Accidents Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Automobile accidents are the primary reason for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population. Annually there are approximately six million vehicle crashes in the country, leading to over 2.5 million injuries. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that 39.2 percent of MVA survivors develop PTSD.

PTSD Predictors

According to a research study, the perception that your life was in peril was the strongest predictor for PTSD six months after the trauma. In another study, it was found that avoidance behaviors, the suppression of thoughts about the vehicle crash, rumination about the trauma, and dissociation were most strongly linked to PTSD symptoms two to six months following a wreck.

A strong feeling that your life was under threat during a vehicle accident can cause avoidance behaviors (such as not getting into a vehicle or traveling on the highway), which can increase the chances of PTSD. This type of avoidance strengthens the belief that driving is hazardous, which is a thought pattern that can increase your fear response.

Things to Look Out For

After a vehicle crash, it is understandable to feel various emotions, such as confusion, fear, shock, guilt, grief, and helplessness. But with PTSD, these feelings do not lessen over time and actually worsen.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) highlights that you may have PTSD if you have experienced or seen serious trauma, such as a car wreck, and develop some of the below-mentioned symptoms:

  • Changes in emotional responses
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Negative changes in mood and thinking
  • Intrusive memories

Any or all of the above symptoms may also develop as a part of your body’s natural response to a traumatic event. These symptoms should gradually subside over time in people who do not develop PTSD.

If you believe that your symptoms are getting more serious and/or more frequent if you are avoiding more situations or your symptoms are starting to impact your life, then you may be at risk for developing PTSD.

Filing a PTSD Claim after a Vehicle Accident is Possible

If you are a car accident victim suffering from PTSD due to a devastating crash, it is possible to file a case against the reckless parties for your damages. However, you will require a seasoned personal injury attorney for a favorable outcome in such cases for various reasons, including:

As PTSD is a mental and emotional disorder, it can be challenging to convey its effect and severity. In comparison, a physical injury has clearly visible effects on a victim, along with medical bills that help quantify the seriousness of the injury.

You must certainly prove that you were clinically diagnosed with PTSD. Further, even if PTSD is determined, you must show that your automobile accident directly contributed to or led to the development of the mental condition.

Calculating the value of your claim can also be complex as there may not be any medical bills or other disabilities that can quantify the debilitating impact of PTSD.

Lawsuits based on pain and suffering are often punitive measures, which are reserved for vehicle crashes where the liable parties exhibited gross recklessness and a general lack of remorse for their deeds. While a PTSD claim can succeed, it may require more effort than a standard lawsuit.

What can I do to Pursue a Successful PTSD Personal Injury Claim?

To successfully pursue a case based on PTSD after a car crash, the following is highly recommended:

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Work with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in developing cutting-edge case strategies with complex damages in mind. They must possess the skills and knowledge to develop a compelling argument based on your PTSD.

Engage Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses can corroborate your PTSD diagnosis and that your automobile crash directly led to your PTSD development. Experts may include medical professionals, academics, licensed therapists, or other experienced specialists who may have a first-hand understanding of PTSD and how it develops. Engaging more witnesses is always beneficial for your case.

Consulting a Professional to Determine the Value of a Case

Hiring an expert who may be able to correctly quantify the damages related to your PTSD can be meaningful to your case. It can be complicated to determine how much your case is worth. Thus, consulting a specialist with experience in calculating the value of a case involving a mental condition can be very meaningful to your recovery.

Vehicle crashes can be traumatic, and no one has the right to discount the effect one may have on our emotional, physical, and mental well-being. If you developed any health issues or disorders, you deserve compensatory damages regardless of how much it “looks” like it affects your life.

Consult a Southern California Auto Accident Lawyer about Filing a PTSD Claim

If you or someone you love has experienced a devastating car crash that has had a profound, traumatic negative effect, filing a PTSD lawsuit may be possible with the help of a personal injury lawyer.

PTSD that stems from a car accident can be life-changing and debilitating. It typically leads to emotional, mental, and physical consequences, besides the stresses of medical expenses and treatment. To speak to a skilled car accident injury attorney at the law offices of Garmo & Garmo, call today at (619) 441-2500.