Are You Suffering From PTSD After A Car Accident?

What Are the Emotional Impacts of a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Car accidents are unexpected events that can happen to anyone. While you may take every precaution to keep yourself safe, even the most careful driver can find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time.

When considering the aftermath of a crash, most people’s minds leap to how they will get treatment for their physical injuries or the cost of having their car repaired or replaced.

One commonly overlooked aspect of accidents is the mental and emotional harm they can cause. The accident doesn’t have to be major or cause serious injuries for you or your loved ones to experience long-term emotional impacts. Any time you are in an emotionally stressful or physically painful situation where you believe your life could be in danger or you see another person get injured or killed, you have the potential to develop PTSD and other mental health issues.

It’s critical to understand the symptoms of PTSD caused by a car accident so you can seek proper care and treatment. If you believe your collision resulted in PTSD or other emotional harm, a Philadelphia motor vehicle accident lawyer can explain your legal options for recovering full compensation.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a frightening event that causes trauma. Most people are familiar with PTSD as a condition that affects war veterans. However, it can be caused by a wide range of events, including accidents, natural disasters, sexual assault, bullying, and domestic violence. Without proper treatment, PTSD can significantly impact a person’s ability to maintain interpersonal relationships or employment and affect their daily functioning. In severe cases, PTSD may be life-threatening, so prompt diagnosis and care is vital.

What Are Common Signs of PTSD Following a Crash?

It is not unusual to feel shocked or have difficulty coping with a scary experience like a car accident in the hours and days following the crash. Many individuals will find that they can process the event and adjust with time, and their mental health symptoms will improve. In PTSD, this adjustment process does not happen, and victims are unable to move on from the incident, even after months or years, and their symptoms may worsen.

If you or a loved one are feeling any of the following signs of PTSD in the weeks or months after a car accident, you should reach out to your doctor or mental health provider immediately for guidance. Be aware that some people have no signs of PTSD until well after the accident. A lack of immediate symptoms does not invalidate your experience.

Re-experiencing the Trauma

Intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts about the accident are common in people living with PTSD. These thoughts may occur as flashbacks during the day and make it difficult for you to stay on task, or they can manifest as terrifying nightmares interrupting your sleep. Things or situations that remind you of the event, even subconsciously, can also trigger severe distress and painful memories.

Avoidance of Situations or Thoughts Related to the Incident

Because thinking about the event is so upsetting, many people with PTSD will go to great lengths to avoid anything that brings back memories of the car accident. It is common for crash survivors with PTSD to have phobias surrounding driving or riding in vehicles, such as vehophobia. In severe cases, this may escalate to a fear of leaving your home, also known as agoraphobia. You may also find yourself policing your thoughts or discussions to steer clear of anything that might remind you of the incident.

Dulling or Lack of Emotional Responsiveness

PTSD can increase negative emotions and make it seem impossible to feel happy. You might begin to feel numb and detached from the world. The people and activities that used to bring you joy may no longer elicit any response. You might struggle with memory issues and find it hard to participate in social activities.

Understandably, these changes can cause severe depression and anxiety. If you are having any thoughts of self-harm related to your PTSD, seek emergency care.

Increased or Exaggerated Physical Reactions

Individuals battling PTSD often display changes in their reactions to external stimuli, including:

  • Increased irritability or moodiness.
  • Trouble focusing or staying on task.
  • Feeling intense shame or guilt.
  • A heightened awareness of threats in their environment that may be coupled with an exaggerated startle response.
  • Engaging in self-destructive habits, such as drinking or risky behavior, to mask their feelings.
  • Difficulty sleeping or relaxing.

How Can an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Help You Recover Compensation if You Have PTSD After a Car Accident?

PTSD can alter every area of your life, but with therapy, medication, and other physician-approved treatments, you can start to regain your mental well-being. In addition to seeking prompt medical care for your condition, it is crucial to speak with a knowledgeable car accident attorney as soon as possible. If you have PTSD, your legal counsel can detail your options for recovering related economic damages, such as medical bills, prescription costs, and counseling expenses. PTSD also causes pain and suffering for victims and their loved ones, and your lawyer can help you seek compensation from the at-fault party for this non-economic damage as part of a car accident claim or lawsuit.

Don’t allow your car accident-related PTSD to go unhealed because you are unsure how to pay for the treatment. Those responsible for the accident should be held liable for your losses. Contact Villari, Giannone & Matteo P.C. who is offering compassionate legal support for vehicle injury cases in pa and explaining your legal rights: 610-609-8477.

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