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Can Severe Car Accidents Lead to PTSD?

The Gatti Law Firm

woman with anxiety in a crowdYou already know that when a crash occurs, it can cause some of the most severe damages imaginable. You can be left with a lifetime of pain and difficulties as the physical injuries begin to take their toll on your ability to do anything. While these physical injuries can be disabling, there are some situations in which the mental trauma you experience can be far worse.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a term often used when referring to the mental health of a soldier returning from war who has experienced significantly traumatic situations. However, it can occur in nearly any situation that impacts a person’s life, such as an act of violence, or even in a car accident.

Individuals who sustain some of the most severe car accidents may experience post-traumatic stress disorder resulting in triggers, flashbacks, and more. Whenever you endure mental trauma following a collision, it’s vital to recognize what rights you have and how this kind of situation impacts your ability to pursue compensation when negligence is involved. Below, we’ll discuss the following:

  • How PTSD impacts a person’s life after a crash
  • What can be done to help with triggers and flashbacks
  • PTSD’s impact on a car accident claim and compensation

If you suffer an injury in an accident involving negligence, we encourage you to call our firm today at (503) 543-1114.

How PTSD Impacts a Person’s Life After a Crash

Should you ever experience a severe car accident that leads to PTSD, it’s important to recognize the long-term impact that you may endure. Unfortunately, mental trauma can be damaging in all aspects of life, including your ability to drive, your behavior and personality, and more.

Here are some of the long-term effects that you may experience after PTSD:

  • Flashbacks any time you hear or see an event that reminds you of your own accident, such as screeching tires, loud bangs, sirens, honking horns, etc.
  • Anxiety and fear preventing you from driving or even stepping foot in a vehicle again after a crash.
  • Behavioral changes, including depression, anxiety, stress, fear, and seasonal affective disorder, which occurs in dreary weather or on the anniversary of the crash.
  • Mental and physical symptoms including nightmares, sleeplessness, self-destructive thoughts, and more.

The impact of the conditions can worsen as individuals go longer without having their post-traumatic stress disorder treated. It’s vital to get the help as necessary to avoid encountering many of the long-term symptoms that you may experience. No matter the treatment option, getting help can not only improve your quality of life, but it can help with avoiding anger issues, severe depression, and more.

What Can Be Done to Help with Triggers and Flashbacks

Treatment options vary quite often for individuals who suffer from PTSD after a car accident, so it’s vital to determine what works best for you. Treatment can be anything from ongoing therapy to different ways that allow you to cope with flashbacks or anxiety when they happen. Here are a few different ways that you can cope with triggers, flashbacks, and other impacts of PTSD:

  • Therapy: Whether you speak with a therapist on a consistent basis, undergo cognitive processing therapy, or prolonged exposure therapy, it’s vital to seek out your options. You may consider it more effective to avoid the issue, but you may want to take your symptoms head on, exposing yourself to whatever triggers your feelings.
  • Support system: Having a strong support system of people around you who can you turn to when you experience the effects of PTSD is important. You should have someone you can reach out to whenever you feel anxious, someone who can help calm you down.
  • Have a list of outs: You want to have various ways that you can get out of any situation that may trigger your feelings or flashbacks. For instance, if you find yourself experiencing flashbacks because of a nearby crash, know how to get away from the situation, so you can calm your thoughts and use what you learn from therapy to avoid anxiety or fear.
  • Write down your triggers: A big part of treating your PTSD and avoiding triggers is by recognizing what they are. When you recognize the various things that can trigger your PTSD, the more you can either face them head on or avoid them.
  • Utilize the R.A.I.N. method: The R.A.I.N. method is a strong way to help you cope with any situation you may experience involving flashbacks or triggers. R.A.I.N. stands for Recognizing your feelings are there, Allowing them to exist, Investigating why they happen, and Not letting them identify who you are as a person.

Not all therapies are equal, and there may be some that work for you better than others. It’s vital to make sure you’re taking the steps to determine which option is best for you and the most effective methods you can utilize to cope with your PTSD.

PTSD’s Impact on a Car Accident Claim and Compensation

When you file a car accident claim, you know that you’re going to be seeking compensation for your economic losses that you experience. For instance, you’re pursuing compensation for the money you spent on medical bills, lost wages, therapy costs, rehabilitation costs, and more. However, car accident claims also involve pain and suffering.

Suffering is the key term in this situation as it often encompasses non-economic damages that you may recover after a crash. These include mental trauma, including PTSD, that impact the quality of your entire life. The more the crash impacts you—such as diminished enjoyment of life, inability to do things you once enjoyed, etc.—the more compensation you may recover.

It’s vital to seek diagnosis from a mental health expert following your crash. Proper diagnosis of PTSD or any other mental trauma can go a long way in pursuing non-economic damages that can help you move forward following such a devastating experience.

Once you have a diagnosis, it can be combined with all other medical records to show the true severity of the crash. Combining this with the ability to show liability and prove that someone else was responsible for your harm can help build a strong case that pursues the maximum compensation available and allows you to feel peace of mind regarding your future.

At The Gatti Law Firm, we focus our efforts on protecting you during your time of need. We know just how difficult it can be to endure any kind of accident, but the most severe can result in far more damage than you ever thought possible. It’s our top priority to determine your rights, your options, and your ability to not only pursue compensation for your injuries, but justice against the liable party.

From start to finish, our Salem car accident attorneys stand by your side, advocating on your behalf. We focus on your best interests and work to handle all legal matters so you can focus on your own treatment and recovery. You can trust that we’re always available to answer any questions you may have, while also explaining what comes next. With us, you’re never left in the dark, and you are our top priority.

If you suffer severe injuries and PTSD in a negligence-related crash, call our firm today at (503) 543-1114. We’ll help you understand your rights and options in a free consultation.

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