Post Traumatic Stress after a Car Accident

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The healing of a physical injury which allows individuals to return to work or do other normal activities does not mean healing of the mental faculties. In fact, physical healing indicates a more complicated psychological response like a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop following an exposure to some stressful situation or event. It is a natural and deep emotional reaction after a shocking and disturbing experience. Automobile or work related accidents are experiences which can trigger PTSD.

Difficulty initiating or sustaining sleep, increased agitation, decreased or increased in appetite, lack of motivation or depressed mood is an indicator of a more serious psychological condition.


Symptoms of PTSD are common to accident survivors. Victims may experience any of the following three main types of symptoms, namely:

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic experience
  • Numbing of emotions and symptoms of avoidance
  • Increasing in arousal

These symptoms can impede the victim’s total recovery.  The residuals of traumatic injuries from accidents affect victims both physically and psychologically. Early detection of PTSD can greatly minimize medical bills, lost wages, disability payments, lost work productivity and direct mental health costs. Early identification of PTSD is particularly important considering the reality of a managed care and the mandate of providing effective treatment interventions.

Accidents in the work place can often lead to traumatic injuries. Consequently, the victim’s cognitive appraisal of the traumatic event plays a significant role in the development of PTSD.

Stress after Car Accidents

On the other hand, injuries caused by car crashes may also lead to PTSD. In one study, 25% of children and 15% of adults involved in traffic-related injuries suffered diagnostic PTSD.

Generally, after a car accident, the victim is evaluated for a PTSD. Treatment usually involves counseling and medications. The expenses incurred in the treatment may be compensated by the negligent driver.

Liability and Injury Claims

Ideally, the driver at fault voluntarily admits liability and pay for PTSD treatment. The problem arises when the negligent driver refuses to pay for the resulting damages and treatment.

In such case, the victim may pursue a personal injury case against him. In pursuing an action, a PTSD attorney may be consulted. A favorable judgment will entitle the plaintiff-victim to reimbursements of all expenses causes by the defendant’s negligent driving such as costs for treating PTSD.

From the author: Post - traumatic Stress Disorder