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PTSD After Car Wreck

Posted in Car accident on January 5, 2021

Regardless of the severity of any accident, it can cause a great deal of distress for all parties involved. Whether you’re at-fault in the accident or suffered an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may find that trauma carries over after the accident itself, leaving you suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can have a significant effect on an individual, depending on how they react to stress. In most cases, PTSD can alter a person’s ability to perform normally throughout their everyday lives.

What is PTSD?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a severe accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or severe injury. Individuals with PTSD can have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. PTSD can even force these individuals to avoid certain situations that can trigger adverse reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch.

Common Symptoms of PTSD

The American Psychiatric Association has categorized PSTD symptoms into four categories:

1. Intrusion: Intrusive thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams; or flashbacks of the traumatic event. Flashbacks may be so vivid that people feel they are re-living the traumatic experience or seeing it before their eyes.

2. Avoidance: Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event may include avoiding people, places, activities, objects, and situations that may trigger distressing memories. People may try to avoid remembering or thinking about the traumatic event. They may resist talking about what happened or how they feel about it.

3. Alterations in cognition and mood: Inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event, negative thoughts and feelings leading to ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted”); distorted thoughts about the cause or consequences of the event leading to wrongly blaming self or other; ongoing fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame; much less interest in activities previously enjoyed; feeling detached or estranged from others; or being unable to experience positive emotions (a void of happiness or satisfaction).

4. Alterations in arousal and reactivity: Arousal and reactive symptoms may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way; being overly watchful of one’s surroundings in a suspecting way; being easily startled; or having problems concentrating or sleeping.

How does PTSD affect your claim?

It is not uncommon for people to develop PTSD after a car accident. PTSD symptoms can also grow over time and not directly after an accident. Will this affect your personal injury claim? Make sure to contemplate these key factors.

Emotional Injuries-When filing a claim, you always incorporate all injuries, including emotional injuries. Like physical injuries, PTSD can limit the enjoyment of your everyday life and even result in not returning to work. These symptoms cause just as much difficulty as a physical injury would. Because of this, emotional injurieS should be a part of your claim, including any medical expenses associated with PTSD, such as counseling, inpatient care, and any needed therapies.

Time Lost At Work-If you miss work due to PTSD, you may seek compensation for all hours missed as part of your claim. If your job consists of driving, which triggers symptoms such as flashbacks that make it difficult for you to do your job correctly, you can also seek compensation for lost earning potential.

Liable Party– While PTSD may change the claim amount you can receive, including compensation for pain and suffering and medical expenses associated with the accident, it does not change the accident’s liable party. After an accident, the police will fill out the accident report, indicating who was at fault. Your PTSD symptoms will not factor into this equation. In other words, if you are the at-fault party, you cannot seek compensation from the other party just because you have PTSD symptoms.

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a car accident, seek legal assistance immediately. At Manchin Injury Law, we pledge to investigate every aspect of your car accident and work to secure any compensation you may be entitled to. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case!