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Life After a Car Crash: Could You Be Experiencing PTSD?

Posted on June 21, 2021 in

When people think of injuries from a car crash, they often think of physical injuries, such as broken bones, cuts, or bruises. While these physical injuries usually heal after a few months, other injuries can last a lifetime. It is not uncommon for car accident victims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Treatment for such a condition is arduous and expensive. Most often, these emotional harms are not fully compensated in the crash settlement (or not compensated at all).

If you have PTSD because of another driver’s negligent actions, contact the car accident attorneys at the Jensen Phelan Law Firm. We can help you get the PTSD proof you need and then use that proof to negotiate with insurers so you receive compensation for all your losses, including therapy costs past and future.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological condition that affects people who experienced trauma. Anyone is susceptible to PTSD. The American Psychiatric Association states that it affects nearly 4% of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated 11% of people will have PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from PTSD. Furthermore, Latinx, Black, and Indigenous people are disproportionately impacted than other ethnicities and races.

What Causes PTSD after a Car Accident?

Car crashes can be overwhelming experiences, especially since driving is a daily activity for most people. Unfortunately, many people assume that you can only develop PTSD after witnessing an extreme event, like a death or natural disaster. Trauma is anything that is deeply disturbing or distressing, and car accidents can be incredibly traumatic.

Accidents that are life-threatening or fatal carry a higher likelihood of causing PTSD for survivors. Drivers tend to feel a sense of responsibility, regardless of who caused the collision. Crash passengers may experience lasting future anxiety while driving or as passengers.

PTSD Symptoms in Car Accident Victims

PTSD symptoms will vary in each person, but one of the most common symptoms is guilt. Even if the victim did not cause the accident, they might find themselves reliving the accident or blame themselves for it. Suffering from ongoing guilt can paralyze a person, making it difficult to move past the crash.

Some other PTSD symptoms in car accident victims include:

  • Experiencing nightmares: People with PTSD might suffer vivid nightmares, and they may wake up shaking, yelling, sweating, or struggling to breathe. Many have difficulty falling back asleep after these nightmares. Conversely, the nightmares might be consistent, causing disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Flashbacks: Driving past the accident scene, sudden bumps, and even similar weather conditions can trigger people living with PTSD. It is important to remember that flashbacks can occur with no trigger and put the accident victim back at the accident scene in their mind.
  • Avoidance: Car accident victims might go out of their way to avoid things that remind them of the crash. A PTSD victim might attempt to prevent a flashback by avoiding people in the accident, riding in cars, or driving.
  • Irritability and anxiety: Some people with PTSD become irritable more quickly than they did before the accident. They may also suffer from anxiety over things that previously would not have caused it.
  • Depression: PTSD is known to trigger depression, leading the accident victim to block all emotions as a coping mechanism to prevent other negative responses. People with depression may also have feelings of worthlessness.

As PTSD symptoms worsen, those suffering may begin to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. It is crucial to recognize the symptoms of PTSD and seek proper help. If you or someone you know suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, you must speak to a doctor right away. Symptoms may only get worse over time.

Speak to a Qualified Injury Attorney in Arizona Today

The emotional and mental pain accident victims suffer because of a car accident can take years to heal. Such trauma may enable you to pursue financial compensation from the negligent party. Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side can be beneficial in securing maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.

At the Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we will always act with your best interests in mind. Our car accident attorneys have the skill and experience needed to handle car accident cases, and you can be confident that we will do everything possible to secure a favorable outcome. Call (928) 778-2660 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.