Inside of a compact car that's been in an accident. Windshield is cracked and airbags deployed.

This Is the Truth About Car Accidents and PTSD

Car accidents are not only stressful and painful experiences to endure, but they also have the potential to cause serious long-term mental health complications.

Of course, not everyone involved in a crash will experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but the condition does impact a significant number of drivers who survive serious wrecks.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a trauma and stressor-related disorder that can materialize after witnessing or experiencing a distressing incident, such as a severe car accident.

It is common for the symptoms of PTSD to appear several days, weeks, or even months after a traumatic event. However, not everyone involved in a distressing event will experience the same PTSD symptoms. According to the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, “A traumatic incident may cause mild PTSD symptoms in one individual while chronically debilitating another.”

Car Accidents Can Easily Lead to PTSD

You may think that only war veterans and sexual assault victims have the potential to develop PTSD.

Think again.

PTSD impacts nearly a quarter (22.25%) of all people who survive car accidents. However, some studies show that as much as 58.3% of car accident survivors experience the disorder.

Living with PTSD is not easy. Those impacted by the disorder often experience the following symptoms:

  • Re-experiencing memories
    • This can include flashbacks or invasive thoughts about the situation, nightmares, and unwelcome memories.
  • Avoidance
    • You might attempt to prevent yourself from talking or thinking about what happened. To achieve this, you may try to avoid:
      • People,
      • Places, or
      • Events that bring back memories of the experience.
  • Mood swings and unpleasant thoughts
    • Your mood changes consistently, but if you have PTSD, it’s possible that you frequently feel blue, numb, or hopeless. After suffering an accident that causes PTSD, it’s normal for you to be tough on yourself, feel significant guilt, or have feelings of self-loathing. You may also want to detach yourself from others, including your closest friends and family members, which can exacerbate PTSD symptoms even further.
  • Behavioral and reactionary changes
    • You may experience unexpected emotional outbursts, such as becoming easily startled or scared, angry, or irrational. You may also act in self-destructive ways, including:
      • Speeding
      • Taking drugs
      • Drinking too much alcohol

If you’re living with PTSD due to a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be owed compensation. Let our team see if we can help you recover it.

Give our Kent personal injury attorney at Dore Law Group, PLLC a call today at (253) 236-3888 to discuss your case.


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