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PTSD from a Car Accident

Can You Get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) From A Motor Vehicle Accident?

Motor vehicle accidents are some of the most common traumatic experiences that people endure. Millions of car accidents occur each year in the US and around the world, and many of them cause life-threatening injuries. Even when they don’t result in physical injury, a car crash can be a highly traumatic event that causes emotional symptoms for many victims.

The fact that motor vehicle accidents can cause physical, emotional, and financial injuries is well-established. Research suggests that many victims of car accidents could specifically develop post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD.

Many people don’t realize that a car accident is a traumatic event that is sufficient to cause something as serious as PTSD. But PTSD after a car crash is a real possibility.

Understanding that there is a real risk that you can develop PTSD after an accident is the first step toward recognizing if you are experiencing it.

If you are a PTSD sufferer and your mental health has been adversely affected by a traumatic accident, you might be entitled to collect compensation from a negligent party or insurance company.

Our personal injury lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP, are here to help you do just that. Call us to learn more about your legal rights after an automobile accident causes you to suffer serious injuries like PTSD.

What Is PTSD?

Anyone involved in a serious car accident may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. What is PTSD?

PTSD is a serious mental health condition that can occur in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. For example, war veterans often have symptoms of PTSD after returning from combat.

People who might be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder include other trauma survivors such as abuse victims, accident victims, and people who work in fields that expose them to intense fear or acute stress.

What Are Some Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD is characterized by four main types of symptoms – intrusive thoughts, avoidance behaviors, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and hyperarousal.

Intrusive Thoughts

One of the common symptoms that people with post-traumatic stress experience is the presence of intrusive thoughts. These thoughts may be about the traumatic event or something related to it.
In the case of a car accident, these intrusive thoughts might include frequent images of seeing a pedestrian get hit, or remembering the sounds of impact with another car, or seeing a loved one suffer.

The victim might have flashbacks to the accident itself, frequent thoughts about injuries, or generally catastrophic events.

Avoidance Behaviors

Another common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder is avoidance behavior. People who have PTSD often avoid things that trigger reminders of their accident.

For example, PTSD symptoms can include refusing to drive a car because of fear of another accident, avoiding being a passenger for the same reason, or even fear of leaving the house.

Negative Changes In Beliefs And Feelings

Another symptom that victims of PTSD might experience is feeling different about themselves or life in general. Many people with PTSD exhibit increased feelings of negativity, isolation, and withdrawal. They might begin to lose trust in friends, family members, and society.


The final category of symptom that characterizes post-traumatic stress disorder is hyperarousal. Hyperarousal is often characterized by an increased state of anger, anxiety, or stress.

How Does PTSD Affect Everyday Life?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, like all mental disorders, can have a profound impact on the everyday life of victims and their families. For many car accident victims, PTSD can result in:

  • trouble sleeping
  • extreme emotional reactions
  • emotional numbing
  • job loss
  • addiction
  • difficulty maintaining relationships

In severe cases, PTSD from a traffic accident or another traumatic incident can cause injury to the emotional and physical health of the victim that is so substantial that their life is never the same.

Can PTSD Be Treated?

Luckily, there are ways to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. You can address PTSD symptoms with a licensed therapist. You might engage in cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy, or group therapy to help deal with your PTSD symptoms.

Health care providers sometimes prescribe medications to help as well.

After you are involved in a serious accident, part of seeking medical attention should include alerting the doctor of any emotional or mental trauma you are experiencing. Early treatment of PTSD can help in the long run.

Can Car Accidents Cause PTSD?

Now that you know what post-traumatic stress disorder is, the next question is whether car accidents can cause it.

The answer to this question is yes. Motor vehicle accidents can definitely cause post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, they are a leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Can You Get Compensation For PTSD From A Vehicle Accident?

When a motor vehicle accident is the result of someone else’s negligence, and it causes injuries, you might be entitled to file a compensation claim.

Damages might include:

  • Physical injuries.
  • Financial injuries, including loss of income, medical expenses, and the cost of future care such as therapy or nursing home costs.
  • Emotional distress, including pain and suffering as well as the cost of therapy or counseling.
  • Other hardships such as loss of enjoyment of life and/or loss of consortium if your spouse or partner was with you when the accident occurred.

PTSD comes under the umbrella of damages for emotional distress. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder caused by something shocking or traumatic happening to you – in this case, a motor vehicle accident.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP If You Developed PTSD After a Motor Vehicle Accident

If you think your symptoms of PTSD are a result of your motor vehicle accident, you should talk to an experienced personal attorney about your legal rights.

Alonso Krangle, LLP, can help you get the compensation allowed by law, including damages for emotional injuries like PTSD.

Call us today at 800-403-6191 for a free case evaluation.


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