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Signs of PTSD After a Car Accident

Posted on 09/12/22

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after a person experiences a traumatic event. Individuals experience PTSD differently, and the signs and symptoms that one person experiences may not be the exact same as what another person experiences, even in accidents of similar severity. However, individuals who have been involved in a vehicle accident need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PTSD. Crash victims may be able to recover compensation for the emotional and psychological pain and suffering they experience, including PTSD symptoms.

Emotional and Psychological Issues Are Okay After an Accident

One of the hardest factors in diagnosing PTSD and any other type of psychological issue after an accident is a victim’s unwillingness to admit what they are feeling. This isn’t necessarily intentional, but all too often, people focus solely on physical trauma and ignore how the accident and injuries have affected their mental health. Perhaps it’s the stigma attached to admitting things aren’t quite right and the desire to “tough it out.”

If you or someone you know has been injured in a vehicle accident, document everything about the incident, including how it has affected your mental health. Specifically, focus on the signs and symptoms we’re outlining here. 

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD After a Vehicle Accident

PTSD manifests differently for everyone, though there are many common signs and symptoms that individuals can be on the lookout for. The emotional and psychological trauma related to a crash and subsequent injuries may not manifest right away. In fact, it could take weeks and even months after the incident for PTSD to show up. 

Those who have been involved in a car accident in Montgomery County should watch out for emotions that go beyond what one would expect after a traumatic and scary event. This includes feelings of fear, guilt, confusion, or helplessness that last for long periods of time. If these internal feelings get worse, this could be a sign that the victim has PTSD. 

Additional signs and symptoms of PTSD could include:

  • Intentionally avoiding driving or going near where the incident occurred
  • Having odd or not-so-normal reactions to everyday events
  • Intrusive memories or thoughts
  • Continuous negative thinking or mood
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts

A study from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows that nearly 40% of all motor vehicle crash survivors develop symptoms of PTSD. We bring this study up so individuals realize that PTSD is not uncommon, and they should really be on the lookout for these symptoms. 

When most people think about compensation after a car accident occurs, they think of getting a settlement to cover medical bills, property damage expenses, and lost wages. They may be less focused on recovering compensation for their non-economic losses, including pain and suffering damages. Emotional and psychological trauma after a crash would fall under these non-economic losses and could significantly increase a total settlement or jury verdict. We strongly encourage car accident victims in Pennsylvania to work with a West Chester car accident attorney who can help them properly calculate all of their economic and non-economic losses.