If you haven’t felt like yourself since your car accident, you could be suffering from PTSD. Maybe you’re afraid to drive on the highway, or you avoid the intersection where the crash occurred. Perhaps your heart starts racing when you pass a car like the one that crashed into yours. All of these symptoms could indicate PTSD, a condition that commonly occurs after a serious auto crash. If PTSD is preventing you from resuming your pre-accident life, you may be entitled to significant compensation. To receive the settlement you deserve, contact a car accident lawyer who has experience winning cases involving post-accident PTSD.
PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a condition that some people develop after witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event. While the disorder is usually associated with soldiers in combat situations, it can occur after any harrowing incident. According to studies analyzed by the American Psychological Association (APA), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD among the general population.
The human brain is wired to produce a “fight-or-flight” reaction in response to danger, whether real or perceived. This is a normal reaction that usually subsides when the danger has passed. However, when the feelings and behaviors associated with this response continue long after the traumatic event is over, the victim may have PTSD. Additionally, a person may develop the condition as a result of repeated trauma such as child abuse or domestic violence.
PTSD can range from mild to severe depending on the individual. While some people have nightmares or intermittent feelings of apprehension, others may experience frequent flashbacks and debilitating anxiety. In some cases, it can take days, weeks or even months for PTSD symptoms to appear. The disorder may be triggered by a reminder of the event, such as seeing a car accident on the highway or driving on the road where the accident occurred.
Furthermore, like many physical injuries, PTSD that seems mild at first can later become more serious. This is one of many reasons it is important to contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney as soon as possible.
While anyone can experience PTSD, researchers have found that victims with certain risk factors are more likely to develop the disorder. Interestingly, the specifics of the accident, such as severity or whether anyone was seriously injured, do not determine whether a victim develops PTSD. Rather, it depends more on individual characteristics and how the person processes the accident.
Here are some of the factors that may put a person at risk of developing PTSD after a car accident:
PTSD symptoms vary widely depending on the person and the situation. However, there are certain universal warning signs that indicate a victim may have PTSD as a result of a car accident. It is normal to experience certain symptoms, such as increased stress levels or jumpiness, immediately following a car accident or other traumatic event. However, victims whose symptoms persist for more than a month should seek medical attention to determine whether they are suffering from PTSD.
The current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) outlines specific criteria that must be met for a diagnosis of PTSD. These symptoms are divided into four main categories.
As with any injury or medical condition, your first priority should be seeing a physician or qualified mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment. There are numerous treatment options available, including various psychotherapeutic modalities and medication.
Your next step should be contacting a qualified auto accident attorney. Whether you are injured physically, psychologically or both, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you win the compensation you are entitled to. Moreover, it’s important to do this before talking to an insurance adjuster or signing any papers.
Like many physical injuries, PTSD does not always show up right away. Some people who appear fine immediately after an accident may develop symptoms weeks or months later. And, unfortunately, if you agree to a premature (and usually low-ball) settlement early on, you lose your right to pursue further compensation from the responsible party. A knowledgeable lawyer will help you avoid that costly mistake and make sure you receive everything you are entitled to.
Recommended reading: Michigan Car Accident Laws: Your Questions Answered
If you or a loved one is experiencing PTSD or other injuries after a car accident, we can help. Our knowledgeable legal team knows what it takes to win your case, and we have the expertise and resources to win the compensation you deserve.
Car accident law is complicated, but finding the right car accident lawyer is simple. For more information or to get your case started, fill our the form below or call 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation remote consultation from the safety and comfort of your home.
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