Posted on Wednesday, June 21st, 2023 at 9:00 am
Did you recently survive a car crash? Any accident can be a terrifying, life-shattering event. And even if your body has started to heal, your mind might still be in panic mode. If you’re stuck in that moment, reliving the horror over and over again, you might wonder, “Is this normal? Am I dealing with PTSD from the car accident?”
Post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD, is a severe psychological condition that can develop following exposure to a traumatic event, often one where severe physical harm was either inflicted or threatened. This could include experiencing or witnessing events like acts of war, natural disasters, or car accidents.
People with PTSD frequently relive the traumatic experience through nightmares or distressing flashbacks. They often have problems sleeping and feel detached or estranged from others. This condition is characterized by significant changes in mood and thought patterns and can lead to considerable personal distress.
The Link Between Car Crashes and PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder is, unfortunately, a common consequence of car crashes. Various research studies, including one longitudinal study of hundreds of drivers, support this connection.
This study concluded that nearly half of car accident survivors develop symptoms that fulfill the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, such as repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts, or mental images associated with the accident. Moreover, this mental distress reportedly significantly affected subjects’ day-to-day lives.
Researchers reported that 70.2 percent of participants said the accident severely affected their work or schooling, while 51.9 percent experienced extreme problems in their social interactions. Factors that increased the likelihood and severity of PTSD included witnessing a death during the accident and a history of previous psychiatric problems.
Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Crash
Symptoms of PTSD following a car crash can vary significantly among individuals, but they generally include distressing and intrusive memories of the traumatic event. These memories might manifest in the form of nightmares or flashbacks, and the person might exhibit emotional distress or intense physical reactions to reminders of the accident. This could be anything that brings the traumatic event back to their mind—a blaring horn, the screech of a car’s brakes, or even passing by the accident site.
PTSD also commonly leads to avoidance behaviors. Survivors may avoid thoughts, feelings, or reminders of the trauma, such as the accident site or driving. They might also exhibit changes in mood and cognition, including negative thoughts about themselves or the world, difficulty maintaining close relationships, and diminished interest in activities they used to enjoy.
Long-Term Impacts of PTSD on Car Crash Survivors
PTSD can seriously affect car crash survivors, invading nearly all aspects of their lives. The constant psychological distress PTSD patients experience can significantly impair their ability to function in various areas of life, including work, school, and social environments.
Many survivors find it hard to focus or perform at work, sometimes leading to losses of employment or demotions. Students with PTSD might find their academic performance slipping. PTSD can also strain social relationships, leading to isolation and loneliness, further exacerbating other problems. Affected persons sometimes resort to harmful coping mechanisms, such as alcohol or drug abuse, which can worsen their mental health.
Besides these considerable personal and emotional costs, PTSD also often introduces financial burdens. Medical expenses for therapy, counseling, and medications can pile up rapidly. Lost income and added costs can burden PTSD sufferers and their families.
Legal Options for Car Crash Survivors with PTSD
If you are suffering from PTSD from a car crash, you could be entitled to compensation for your mental and emotional suffering, along with any financial losses you incurred due to the accident. If another’s negligence caused the accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you file a claim or lawsuit.
Seeking professional legal help is the best way to protect your rights and pursue the fair compensation you deserve for the distress and disruption this accident has caused in your life. An injury claim cannot undo psychological trauma but can provide the resources necessary to manage your condition and compensate you for the personal and financial losses you’ve endured.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
Dealing with PTSD after a car crash is a burden no one should bear alone. At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, our car accident lawyers have a wealth of experience helping crash survivors like you. Call us today at (205) 324-1212 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll listen to your story, answer your questions, and discuss how we can help you seek justice.