Physical injuries are generally the focus of medical treatment after a car accident. Doctors check for a variety of injuries, such as brain damage, broken bones, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, and soft tissue injuries. However, a car accident victim can also sustain psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

PTSD After a New York City Car Accident 

Post-traumatic stress disorder can often be overlooked after an automobile accident. Physicians focus on a person’s physical injuries while ignoring the emotional and mental trauma caused by a car crash. 

However, studies have shown that individuals involved in car accidents have an increased risk of developing emotional disorders, including PTSD. In fact, car accidents are a leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. One study revealed that 22 percent of car crash victims develop PTSD.

Individuals can develop post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing any traumatic event. Traumatic events may include floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and other natural disasters. It could also include being the victim of assault, dog attack, sex crimes, or other violent acts. Soldiers often develop PTSD after being in battle or serving in a war zone.

Some people may develop PTSD after witnessing a violent act, such as a murder or assault. A person does not need to sustain a physical injury to develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event.

PTSD is a severe, medically diagnosed anxiety disorder. If left untreated, a person could experience debilitating complications and symptoms. In addition, a person may develop eating disorders, depression, sleep disorders, and other illnesses. In some cases, a person may try to commit suicide or harm themselves if they do not receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident?

Individuals with PTSD may experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Avoidance symptoms
  • Re-experiencing symptoms
  • Reactivity and arousal symptoms
  • Symptoms related to mood
  • Cognition symptoms

PTSD symptoms may begin soon after the traumatic event, but some people may not experience symptoms for several months or years following a traumatic event. Symptoms may also come and go over the years.

Symptoms of PTSD after a car accident can include general anxiety, depression, mood swings, and aggression. 

A person may also experience:

  • Fear of driving or riding in a motor vehicle
  • Nightmares or flashbacks of the car wreck
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Becoming agitated when hearing sirens 
  • Avoiding discussing the car accident or injuries
  • Refusing to be around people or go places that remind the person of the car accident
  • Experiencing mood swings, including bouts of anger, crying, depression, and laughter
  • Trying to isolate oneself from family and friends
  • Changes in eating habits or sleep habits
  • Inability to perform at work or school
  • Problems with focus, memory, and concentration
  • Trouble recalling or inability to recall the details of the traffic accident

Individuals who experience symptoms of PTSD or any psychological injury should consult a physician immediately. A physician can diagnose and treat PTSD after a car accident to help the individual recover from the mental and emotional impact of the crash.

It is important to remember that children can also have PTSD after an accident. If a child displays symptoms of PTSD or shows any signs of changes in mood or development, parents should seek immediate medical treatment. 

Treatments for PTSD After a Car Accident

The treatments for PTSD depend on the individual and the symptoms presented. Different individuals may respond better to specific types of treatment. 

Treatments for PTSD may include one or more of the following:

  • Medications 
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Counseling
  • Cognitive therapy

Living with PTSD after a car accident can be challenging. Symptoms may make it difficult to function at work and home. A person with PTSD may need substantial assistance to care for their needs due to anxiety, fear, or depression.

Claiming Damages for PTSD After a Motor Vehicle Accident

If you develop PTSD after a car wreck, you may be entitled to compensation. 

In addition to compensation for other types of damages, you may receive compensation for:

  • The cost of diagnosing and treating PTSD
  • The expenses related to personal care and help with household chores
  • Loss of income and benefits, if you are unable to work
  • The cost of medications and therapy 
  • Reimbursement for travel expenses to and from doctor’s visits and therapy
  • The cost of treating other issues related to PTSD, such as depression, insomnia, substance abuse, etc.
  • Your mental anguish and emotional distress 

A car accident lawyer can help you document your damages and file a claim for PTSD after a car accident. Seeking legal advice before settling a personal injury claim or signing any documents can be in your best interest.