When people think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they may imagine survivors of mass shootings or soldiers returning from war. However, auto accidents are actually the leading cause of PTSD among the general public. In fact, nearly 40 percent of auto accident survivors develop PTSD.
It is normal to feel a flood of emotions following a car crash, including shock, confusion, helplessness, and fear. With PTSD, these feelings don’t dissipate and can even worsen with time. If you think if you have auto accident PTSD, you may be entitled to damages for the trauma you have faced.
Risk Factors for PTSD
Interestingly, studies show little correlation between the severity of the accident and the development of PTSD. How the person perceives and responds to the event are the most important factors.
Perceiving that your life was in danger is the strongest indicator for PTSD six months after an accident. Avoidance behaviors—such as refusing to get in a car or actively avoiding where the crash took place—are also strongly connected with PTSD symptoms.
Other risk factors include:
- Having a history of prior trauma
- Having a family history of psychopathology
- Experiencing elevated emotions during or immediately following the car accident
- Lacking social support after the accident
- Suppressing thoughts and feelings about the trauma
- Dwelling excessively on the trauma
- Experiencing severe injuries or witnessing death at the scene
Signs You Have Auto Accident PTSD
While you should certainly focus on recovering from your physical injuries after a car crash, also be on the lookout for these signs of PTSD:
- Having difficulty remembering critical aspects of the accident
- Reliving the trauma in thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks
- Having a physical reaction when reminded of the trauma
- Engaging in avoidance behaviors (which, in turn, makes PTSD worse)
- Having trouble sleeping
- Feeling more irritable, jumpy, or constantly on guard
- Being easily distracted
- Feeling depressed or distant from others
The Damages You May be Entitled To
Losses are more straightforward if they have monetary value, such as medical bills and lost wages. However, you are certainly entitled to compensation for auto accident PTSD—you simply need to evaluate the impact your trauma has had on your daily life with a lawyer’s help. To increase the chance of winning your case, you must show the following:
- You have been diagnosed with PTSD.
- Your mental health condition is a direct result of the car accident.
- The prognosis for your condition and its impact on your quality of life are reflected in the dollar amount you’re asking for.
Given the unique nature of car accident PTSD, it’s vital to have an experienced lawyer review your case. Taps & Associates has extensive experience as an auto accident attorney. We’ll give your case the personal attention it deserves and offer our professional advice to maximize your compensation. For a free consultation, please contact us online or call 404-492-8746 today.