According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, people often develop PTSD after witnessing or experiencing an event perceived as life-threatening. Someone may develop post-traumatic stress disorder after being sexually assaulted, involved in combat, or in any type of serious accident. For instance, when a passenger in a vehicle that crashes head-on with another vehicle loses a loved one in the accident, that person may develop PTSD. This is normal, however it is very distressing and can impact every area of that individual’s life. Those interested in learning what their legal rights may be regarding PTSD and car accidents may want to consider visiting with SLM Law at (310) 443-4119.

Factors That Increase the Risk for PTSD

In the United States, approximately six million motor vehicle accidents occur each year. More than 2.5 million people are injured in these accidents, and nearly 40% of survivors develop PTSD. The risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder increases due to several factors including:

  • Detachment during or immediately following a traumatic event
  • Guilt, shame, fear, horror, or other heightened emotions experienced during or immediately following a traumatic event
  • History of previous trauma
  • Lack of social support following a traumatic event
  • Prior issues with psychological adjustment
  • Discerned threat to life of self or others
  • Family history of mental distress or illness

Unfortunately, PTSD and car accidents are common, as many accidents involving two or more vehicles result in serious or even fatal injuries. Many who suffer from PTSD following a car accident in California find it difficult to drive or ride as a passenger in a vehicle. Not all injuries are physical, as anyone who has developed PTSD knows. Those who have suffered this disorder following a car accident that was caused by another motorist’s negligence may be entitled to compensation.

PTSD Symptoms

Following a car accident, some may experience symptoms that potentially indicate PTSD. It is important to seek medical attention after a car accident if any of the symptoms below are present:

  • Memory issues
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Feeling overwhelmed with shame or guilt
  • Problems concentrating
  • Nightmares about the car accident
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Avoidance of activities that were once enjoyed
  • Reliving or flashbacks of the car crash
  • Anger or irritability
  • Participating in behavior that is self-destructive
  • Trying not to talk or think about the accident
  • Feeling numb emotionally
  • Maintaining close relationships becomes difficult
  • Anxiety when thinking of the car accident
  • Being frightened or startled more easily

A physician can perform an examination to determine what type of treatment would be most effective, if any. Medical records regarding a PTSD diagnosis and treatment are vital to support a personal injury claim in California. Those needing further guidance concerning PTSD and car accidents may want to consider reaching out to SLM Law.

Emotional Trauma Is Injury

Many people have the misconception that only physical injuries may be compensated following a car accident. This is not the case, as some people suffer emotional injuries that are every bit as damaging to their daily lives and routines. It may be difficult or impossible to get into a vehicle, return to a place of employment, or engage with family and friends. While many victims of car accidents may develop PTSD, some have physical injuries as well. A National Institutes of Health Frontiers in Psychiatry study found that nearly half of road traffic accident survivors involved in the study developed PTSD. It is important when filing a personal injury claim to include not only physical injuries, but emotional injuries as well. PTSD patients often receive counseling and/or therapy, and some may require inpatient care. These costs may be compensated in a solid and successful claim.

PTSD and Car Accidents – Compensation

There are both economic and non-economic damages that may be compensated for those involved in a car accident that contributed to the development of PTSD. Someone with the disorder may be unable to work due to the emotional trauma they suffer. Damages that may be compensated depending on the circumstances in a victim’s case include:

  • Lost wages
  • Cost of animals or other disability accommodations for emotional support
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental health therapy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship or consortium

An experienced California personal injury lawyer can help victims determine what compensation may be available in their specific case.

Consider Visiting with Silva Legal

Unfortunately, PTSD and car accidents are often synonymous. Post-traumatic stress disorder is as real as a broken bone, and those who were negligent should be held liable for their actions. Those in need of skilled legal guidance may want to consider scheduling a consultation with SLM Law at (310) 443-4119.