When we think of car accident injuries, we typically think of broken bones, concussions, and whiplash. We rarely consider the emotional impacts these accidents can have on a person – but many car accident victims experience mental repercussions after their crash. One of the types of emotional damage you can experience after a car accident is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, also referred to as PTSD, is a mental health condition that you experience after suffering a terrifying or traumatizing event. You can develop PTSD after witnessing or experiencing this event. While most people associate PTSD with acts of intentional violence and warfare, many other events can lead to PTSD – including car accidents.

PTSD can include flashbacks, severe anxiety, and nightmares related to the traumatizing event or experience. You may also experience uncontrollable thoughts and fixations about the car accident. PTSD can make it very difficult to recover from a car accident and to readjust to the world afterward. However, treatment is available and PTSD can subside with proper therapy and treatment.

Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident

You can develop the symptoms of the PTSD soon after a car accident. You may experience lingering feelings of anger, shock, disbelief, anxiety and fear for weeks or months after the accident. In addition, you can experience the following symptoms for months or years after the accident.

  • Feelings of general anxiety and uneasiness in your day to day life
  • Nightmares, restlessness, and difficulty falling asleep
  • Feelings of distress about getting into a car, driving, or simply being around moving vehicles
  • Feelings of irritability, anger, and excessive worry
  • Flashbacks and lingering memories of your accident

Without proper treatment, PTSD can develop into more serious mental health problems. You can develop severe depression, suicidal ideation, physical health issues, and substance abuse. However, you can seek treatment through a registered therapist, counselor, or mental health professional.

Risk Factors of Developing PTSD After a Car Accident

Not all people will develop PTSD after a car accident. Certain people are more susceptible to developing this condition. If you have experienced other traumatic events during your life or you suffered from mental health problems before the accident, you are more at risk of developing PTSD. Having family with a history of mental health problems can also contribute to this risk.

If the accident resulted in trauma that threatened your life or you lost a loved one in the accident, you can exacerbate your risk of developing PTSD. If you do not receive an adequate amount of support after the accident, your trauma could manifest into PTSD. In addition, dissociating during the trauma or having a severe emotional response, such as fear or guilt, can lead to PTSD development.

Receiving Treatment for Car Accident PTSD

To recover from your PTSD, you can visit a mental health professional and discuss your state of mind. This professional can put you on a treatment regimen that includes regular counseling and perhaps medication. Over time, you can see your symptoms alleviate and you can return to a PTSD-free life, or at least reduce the amount that PTSD affects your daily life. Receiving the treatment you need after an accident can help you on the road to recovery after a vehicle accident.

However, these treatments can be expensive and you may suffer other damage due to your PTSD, such as lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. You can claim both economic and noneconomic damages related to your PTSD and other injuries in a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. These damages can include loss of quality of life, impairment and disability, and past and future medical expenses.

Contact Heenan & Cook, PLLC for a Free Consultation

If you are suffering from PTSD in the aftermath of a car accident, you can claim compensation for your injuries from a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. You can receive damages for treatment as well as pain and suffering. Speak to a Montana car accident attorney as soon as possible to begin this process.