Suffering PTSD: What It Means After a Car Crash and What You Can Do
Accidents are far too common and individuals suffer severe injuries as a result. Negligence leads to harm and those responsible should be held accountable for the injuries sustained. But while there is plenty known about physical injuries, there are other types of damages that may develop.
In terms of personal injury law, non-economic damages may be available to victims for pain and suffering arising after a car accident. Typically, this means the emotional damage that the victim must endure after the crash.
One thing that is not often thought about for car accident victims is post-traumatic stress disorder. This is commonly a term coined for soldiers returning from war who have vivid memories of the different things that occurred in their lives.
For victims of car accidents, the effects can be similar and PTSD is a real thing. It’s an emotional issue that some accident victims may experience and it warrants discussion regarding:
- How it happens
- How it affects victims
- What individuals can do
Here are some of the things you need to know:
What Causes PTSD After a Car Accident?
When individuals are involved in a serious car accident, the brain works differently in terms of remembering the event. Certain parts of the brain remember the event differently, with some of the factors of the accident remaining as a signal of stressors in the brain.
For instance, if during the crash, there was a horn honking or tires screeching in order to brake. Moving forward, these may be triggers to the survivor of a car crash. The sound of tires screeching could bring up feelings of stress and anxiety in a survivor.
The sound of a honking horn or a loud bang could force the survivor to relive the memories of what happened during their own accident. These are typically the triggers that individuals try to avoid if possible.
The Effects of PTSD Triggers
Many people overlook how triggers impact a survivor or pass it off as something that isn’t serious. However, you should know what happens when PTSD is present and what can be done to help relieve the impact of a trigger.
Typically, the reaction is dependent on the severity of the trauma to the individual. Some individuals will have a slight moment of fear or anxiety while others will completely shut down or do anything to avoid being in a situation where they may be reminded of the accident.
Some individuals encounter a situation where they don’t even feel like they’re in their own bodies. They may seem like their frozen in a moment, reliving the accident in their head and not hearing or seeing anything in their present time.
The impact of PTSD can be damaging to the way a person lives each and every day, preventing them from ever getting in a car again or isolating themselves to avoid triggers. This could impact friendships, relationships, and work.
What It Means for Survivors of Car Accidents?
Typically, the moments following a car accident can be confusing and stressful and the focus is on the physical injuries sustained. After all, most people don’t recognize their PTSD until something happens causing a trigger in anxiety and stress.
It’s important for survivors to know that there are treatment options for PTSD; most typical is therapy in which they can either discuss their triggers or confront them head on. This could be helpful for a number of individuals to learn how to cope with PTSD and the triggers over time.
Understanding your options after a car accident is one of the most important things to do because PTSD has the potential to impact nearly every aspect of your life. It can cause high levels of anxiety, stress, depression, and more.
This is why it qualifies as emotional damage in a personal injury claim. There are parts of your life that don’t have monetary value, but should they suffer because of the condition, you should be compensated for them.
Can I Sue After Developing PTSD?
Not many people understand their legal rights when it comes to PTSD caused by a car accident. However, it’s important because not all injuries are physical or visible immediately following the crash.
Because PTSD may not develop immediately, though, it’s important for individuals to seek medical care immediately following a crash to be thoroughly evaluated by a medical professional. They can at least determine if there are signs in a brain scan.
You should know, however, that there are statutes of limitation which prevent you from filing a personal injury claim after a certain date following the accident. Typically, this is 2 years for personal injury, which means from the date of the accident, you have this long to file a claim.
When PTSD Is the Result of Negligence
Unfortunately, PTSD can arise in a number of situations, but there are rights available to individuals who develop the condition following a car crash caused by another individual’s negligent and reckless actions. A lawyer can help determine if liability exists in this situation by proving the following:
- The responsible party had a duty of care to the victim
- There was a breach in that duty of care
- The breach resulted in a car accident
- The car accident led to injuries
PTSD is considered an emotional injury and still constitutes as damage to the victim, meaning legal action may be pursued. However, it’s important to speak with a legal professional before doing anything to determine the right situation and process to go through in order to be most effective.
Fieger Law: Protecting the Rights of Victims
Victims have rights that need protecting. Many times, a defendant and their insurance company will try to devalue a claim because of physical injuries sustained are not severe. However, that doesn’t mean they should get off without being held accountable.
In some situations, the impact of emotional trauma and PTSD are far worse and longer lasting than the physical pain individuals endure. As such, their entire lives can be affected and there must be legal action to force the negligent party to accept liability.
At Fieger Law, we have been representing individuals since 1950. We have a track record of success and a dedication to the rights of our clients. You deserve to have strong legal advocacy during such a difficult time, and that is what we always aim to provide.
You can feel confident knowing that we work hard and are never afraid to go the extra mile if it means giving you peace of mind in a car accident case. Your best interests are always our top priority and we prove it in our representation.
Our attorneys have helped recover a number of record-breaking settlements and verdicts for our clients, and now we stand ready to help you, too!
If you or someone you love is suffering from PTSD after a car accident, you may be able to seek compensation. Our firm offers free consultations so you can better understand if you have a case, what options may be available to you, and what to expect every step of the way.
We encourage you to call our firm at (800) 294-6637 and learn more about our firm and our representation of individuals suffering serious harm due to negligence.