Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Develop After Car Accidents

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a serious mental condition that can develop after a person has been exposed to a traumatic event, such as a car accident in which serious physical harm occurred or is threatened. PTSD can have lasting consequences of traumatic events that cause intense fear, helplessness or horror. A person who develops PTSD does not simply get over the event, the symptoms of this disease continue and, in some circumstances, can even increase and can prevent the person from living his or her normal life.

Symptoms of PTSD

Most people who live through a traumatic event will experience shock, anger, nervousness, fear and even guilt for the event. All these reactions are normal responses and they typically decrease and disappear over time. Symptoms of PTSD generally develop three months after the event, however, for some people they can develop years after, although that is not very common and this occurs in very rare circumstances.

Symptoms of PTSD can fall into four main categories. The first category is reliving the ordeal and memories of the trauma. Nightmares and flashbacks are very common. The second category is avoiding the places where the trauma occurred and this would include avoiding riding in cars or if the accident occurred at night or while raining, the person may not want to ride in the car at night or while it is raining. The third category of symptoms may include excessive emotions regarding the accident such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability, and having difficulty concentrating. Some people may also exhibit physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure and heart rate and muscle tension.

What are the risk factors for MVA-related PTSD?

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs1, “recent research has identified variables that have predictive value when trying to determine who might experience PTSD after a serious accident.” There appear to be three variables that individuals have before the accidents that make them more predisposed to developing PTSD after a serious MVA.

The first variable is the person’s pre-accident ability to cope in reaction to previous traumatic events, the presence of pre-accident mental health problems and poor social support “have all been linked to the development of PTSD following severe MVA.” The

the second variable depends on the accident itself. Specifically, the amount of physical injury, potential life-threat, and loss of significant others have a very likelihood for a person to develop PTSD. Finally, post-accident variables also contribute to the development of PTSD. Those post-accident variables are the rate of physical injury recovery, the level of social support from friends and family and the level of active reengagement in both work and social activities.

Treatments available for PTSD

According to the United States Veterans’ Affairs informational website, it is critical to recognize the symptoms of a motor vehicle PTSD as soon as after the accident occurs. Many people, especially those who do not sustain major injuries may present to their primary physician for treatment and they tend not to be mindful of their psychological symptoms. According to the site, “studies have shown that of the people who develop PTSD and do not seek psychological treatment, approximately half continue to have symptoms for more than six months or a year.” It appears that a number of treatment approaches have been effective for an MVA-related PTSD. Those treatments can include behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and medications. Seeking prompt treatment for psychological injuries contributes to positive outcomes.

Recovering for MVA-related PTSD injuries

After a car accident, the expenses related to the treatment of PTSD including psychological and often psychiatric care can be very costly and ongoing for a lengthy period of time. In some cases, antidepressants may be prescribed to manage symptoms of PTSD and in some cases, psychotherapy may also be recommended which will substantially increase the cost of PTSD treatment. For some individuals who develop PTSD, their symptoms may be severe enough that they may lose time away from work, potentially entitling them to lost wages. Typically, in a personal injury case where PTSD injuries are at issue, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Often times, it may also be useful to engage an expert to opine on the presence and severity of PTSD.

Call our New Port Richey, Florida Personal Injury Attorneys Today

As with any complex injuries, PTSD may be complicated to prove in a car accident and, as stated above, it is important to seek proper care immediately after the accident. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can assist you in getting a proper diagnosis for your condition. Our attorneys can guide you through this process every step of the way. During our free and confidential consultation, we will examine the circumstances of the accident and will discuss your current symptoms. Please call the Dolman Law Group at (727) 853-6275 for a free consultation today.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275