Physical injuries and property damage are common effects of car accidents. Yet auto accidents can have another consequence that often goes overlooked. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur following any emotionally jarring experience. PTSD is most often associated with military combat. However, in 1992 the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology published a study of car accidents and PTSD. The article found that auto crashes were the leading cause of PTSD since the Vietnam War. Of course, our country has seen additional military combat since that time. Nevertheless, it is still apparent that car accidents and PTSD are closely related. To learn more about PTSD and auto accidents, contact our White Plains practice today.
What Is PTSD?
Post traumatic stress disorder is a psychological condition triggered by a dramatic event. In most cases, you will suffer PTSD if you experience trauma yourself. In other cases, you could develop the condition after witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can vary widely depending on the circumstances of your accident and your own personality. Common side effects may include:
- Panic attacks
- Recurrent or intrusive thoughts
- Racing heart, shortness of breath, and other physical symptoms
- Nervousness when driving or the complete inability to get in a car
How Can Auto Accidents Cause PTSD?
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 9% of those who survive serious auto accidents will develop PTSD. Of those survivors, 15% have a phobia of driving. No one knows for sure why some people develop PTSD and others do not. However, psychologists have identified certain risk factors, including:
- History of depression or other psychological disorders
- Particularly severe accidents
- Wrongful death of a loved one in the accident
- Lack of social support following the crash
Some people may also have “survivor’s guilt” after an accident. Thus, they can suffer from PTSD even if they were not directly involved in the crash.
Treating and Controlling PTSD
It is best to treat post-accident PTSD as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many people seek treatment for their physical injuries first. Many do not even consider the psychological effects of a car accident until they have become debilitating. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been involved in a serious accident, it is important to be on the lookout for PTSD symptoms.
If you do develop the condition, a counselor or psychologist may recommend several treatments. Options include:
- Cognitive therapy
- Behavior modification
- Relaxation techniques
PTSD can also improve as you seek treatment for your physical symptoms.
How an Accident Attorney Can Help
PTSD can make it very difficult to function. You may not be able to fulfill the duties of your job, and you could experience significant financial stress. Your PTSD can also keep you and your loved ones from enjoying the activities you love. Finally, the necessary treatment can sometimes be cost prohibitive. For all of these reasons, you may benefit from working with one of our auto accident attorneys. He will analyze the specific circumstances of your situation. Then your lawyer can help you recover your financial damages. You may also be eligible to collect money for pain and suffering.
Contact One of Our Attorneys
If you are suffering from PTSD, our attorneys will handle all aspects of your accident lawsuit. Then you can focus on recovery and on putting the past behind you. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.