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Is it Possible to Get PTSD from a Car Accident?

Posted on October 28, 2019

When people think of car accident injuries, they usually think of broken bones, whiplash, head injuries, bumps, and bruises. While those injuries certainly have the ability to cause a person significant pain, there are other injuries associated with a car accident that many people do not think about. 

For accidents involving significant injuries or high speeds, it is not uncommon for those involved to suffer from serious emotional and psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Mental trauma after a car accident

Research has shown that around 9% of people who get into car accidents develop symptoms of PTSD in the aftermath. When we look at the statistics from the latest reporting year in Florida, we can see that there were over 400,000 total crashes. Out of those crashes, there were:

  • 3,116 total fatalities
  • 254,310 total injuries
  • 20,380 incapacitating injuries

Statistically speaking, there are likely many Florida car accident victims suffering from severe emotional distress following a car accident. Some studies have shown that the vehicle accident does not have to necessarily be severe or cause serious physical injuries for a person to have psychological complications

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person, and some of the items listed below may not be present in all victims suffering.

  • Intrusion – this happens when the victim experiences recurrent recollections of the car accident.
  • Numbing – the car accident victim keeps and emotional distance from those around them. This can include feelings of hopelessness and depression, as well as an inability to feel emotions of any kind. 
  • Avoidance – this includes the car accident victim avoiding people, places, or circumstances associated with the crash. 
  • Arousal – this can include the car accident victim being in a heightened state of alertness, including hyper-vigilance, paranoia, an inability to focus, and sleep disturbances. 

Symptoms of PTSD vary for everyone. Some people experience a constant state of these symptoms, while the symptoms ebb and flow in others. Many victims have no idea when they will experience the symptoms and do not understand what triggers them. 

Treatment for PTSD

Treatment for car accident victims experiencing PTSD can include talk therapy. It can also include the need for medication. People respond differently and often need a variety of treatments to help ease their PTSD symptoms. Car accident victims suffering from PTSD are not going to be cured overnight. In many cases, treatment can take years to be successful. 

What kind of compensation could I be entitled to?

You may be wondering if a car accident victim can be awarded compensation for PTSD after a car accident. When it comes to vehicle accident damages, we typically see two types – special damages and general damages. 

Special damages deal with compensation for things that are a bit easier to calculate, such as lost income and medical bills. This can also include the future cost of care and lost earning capacity. 

General damages deal with compensation for things that are not as easy to calculate, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, emotional and psychological trauma, and more. 

Should I contact a lawyer?

While we cannot give you an exact dollar amount for what an insurance or jury will award for someone suffering from PTSD, we do know that you can seek compensation for these damages. Contact Farah & Farah today for a free consultation.