Car Accident Victims Can Suffer PTSD

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

September 28, 2022


Appointments. Bills. Repairs. After a car accident, you’re dealing with a lot, and you could be more worried about your money or your physical ailments.

People often underestimate or dismiss post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), although the link between PTSD and car accidents is obvious.

A meta-analysis of research on the frequency of PTSD in car accident survivors revealed startling findings: more than 22% of car accident victims will develop PTSD. Their experiences were similar to those of survivors of earthquakes and floods.

PTSD is much more than just emotional misery. Psychological damage after a car accident, like a broken bone, needs rigorous therapy and a rehabilitation plan.

Intrusive thoughts, avoidance difficulties, mood swings, flashbacks, and nightmares are all common symptoms of PTSD. These symptoms persisted in their daily lives, exacerbating their anxiety and sadness. PTSD caused by a car accident may substantially negatively influence your quality of life.

Mental health and emotional well-being are seldom given the attention they need, mainly when overshadowed by an injury sustained in a car accident. However, although physical injuries might heal with time, the psychological trauma of a car accident can take far longer to heal.

An car collision may have serious psychological implications for drivers and passengers, but insurance companies will do all they can to discount, dismiss, and deny your sentiments. They’ll attempt to convince you that PTSD isn’t a “severe enough” injury to warrant compensation.

This abuse will not be tolerated. After a car accident, work with a PTSD lawyer who will prioritize your health and safety.

At Warrior, we understand how debilitating PTSD can be. More information regarding PTSD, how it relates to car accidents, and what you can do if you have PTSD after a car accident may be found below.


What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and How Does It Affect You?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health illness that affects persons who have “experienced or seen a traumatic accident,” according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes and being a victim or witness of terrorist actions, war atrocities, shootings, assaults, and severe accidents are all examples of traumatic experiences that may contribute to PTSD.

According to the American Psychological Association, 3.5 percent of adults in the United States have PTSD. Around 10% of individuals will be diagnosed with PTSD at some point in their lives. In addition, women are twice as likely as males to get PTSD.


PTSD symptoms in yourself or a loved one will not show up for days or weeks after a catastrophic car accident, unlike many other physical car accident injuries. On the other hand, these symptoms might continue for weeks, months, or even years.

PTSD expresses itself in various ways; not everyone with PTSD has the same symptoms.

The severity of PTSD symptoms varies based on the individual and their past. However, they may include:

Our brains deal with trauma by withdrawing and concealing information. Dissociation occurs when our consciousness is impaired over time, and we get “zoned out.” During or immediately after a car accident, you may disassociate. Dissociation may briefly conceal your mental agony, just as a burst of adrenaline might temporarily mask your physical discomfort. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to get assistance.


It’s only natural that we’d desire to stay away from anything that hurts us. However, this PTSD symptom may severely disrupt your life after a car accident. Avoidant behaviors include refusing to drive on the highway or at night or even refusing to get in a car at all. This avoidance reinforces your view that driving is hazardous, keeping you trapped in a fear cycle. You may find yourself avoiding those who were in the car with you after surviving or witnessing a serious car accident, even if they were friends or family members. It would help if you also avoided the area where the accident occurred. In addition, PTSD patients may attempt to avoid recalling or thinking about the disaster and talking about it and their thoughts about it. (PTSD presents similarly in military veterans.) These worries may lead to a cycle of antisocial conduct, which can lead to.



People with PTSD often withdraw and isolate themselves to avoid being reminded of the trauma they have endured. They may feel strange or unable to connect with others.


People with PTSD may have strong unpleasant responses to everyday sights, noises, and touch. They have trouble managing their responses at times. They may have emotional outbursts over trivial matters or engage in self-destructive behavior.


people living with PTSD may have intrusive thoughts that manifest in several ways. Survivors of car accidents may have flashbacks or nightmares about the tragedy.

Finally, PTSD does not always strike on its own. It may occur in conjunction with other issues such as:

Depression and anxiety Mood swings and instability Alcoholism

Drugs Agoraphobia Vehophobia Insomnia

Memory issues and difficulty concentrating


After a car accident, PTSD is a serious issue. A reputable specialist can diagnose you with PTSD, and your car accident lawyer can link you to these services if necessary.

Before deciding on a PTSD diagnosis, doctors search for particular criteria to meet. PTSD symptoms must usually last for at least a month. According to the American Psychological Association, most persons who acquire PTSD following a car accident do so within three months, although symptoms may arise later.

PTSD is often diagnosed when symptoms cause considerable emotional discomfort and difficulties functioning in daily life.



Although post-traumatic stress disorder is seldom acknowledged in car accidents, it is as real to the victims as their physical agony.

Your PTSD intensity is not necessarily influenced by the degree of your injuries. Though you ever felt as if your life was in danger, it might have long-term psychological implications even for a little period. The more you attempt to get thoughts of the car accident out of your head, the more problems you’ll have.

You can be lacking in social support as well. You may be ashamed of your inability to overcome emotions of dread and powerlessness. You may be hesitant to discuss your mental health with friends or even physicians.

On the road, you could feel nervous and wary of other drivers. You may be coping with guilt if you believe you were somewhat to blame for the accident. Worse still, if there was a death in the car accident, you may be plagued with survivor’s guilt.

Proper treatment may assist you in learning how to process and conquer these feelings in a healthy manner.

The bottom conclusion is that PTSD is real, and you deserve to be treated as such. If you or a loved one is suffering any of the symptoms described above, visit a doctor as soon as possible.

You don’t have to suffer in quiet if you don’t want to.


Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other experts who research post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following car accidents have agreed on a few distinct therapies to assist you in getting through your troubles. They are as follows:

CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is a kind of psychological therapy used by mental health professionals to treat various problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the American Psychological Association (APA), CBT is based on many key ideas, including detecting and unlearning detrimental habits and replacing them with healthy coping skills and mindfulness. Finally, CBT assists you in breaking free from PTSD-related behaviors and confronting your worries after a car accident.

Supportive psychotherapy is often used in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy. The goal of supportive psychotherapy for car accident victims with PTSD is to help them cope with their mental anguish and how it affects their daily lives. Therapists are primarily concerned with offering comfort, guidance, and encouragement. Additionally, supportive psychotherapy gives those who have PTSD a place to vent their frustrations.


According to the American Psychological Association and the World Health Organization, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is useful for PTSD patients (WHO). Clinicians can “reroute” the brain’s connections by monitoring and directing a patient’s eye movements as they recollect a traumatic accident. (During REM sleep periods, something similar occurs.)

Medication: Medication may assist with PTSD symptoms, albeit it isn’t necessarily a long-term solution.

The duration of treatment required for an car accident survivor is determined by the circumstances of the event, the degree of injuries and psychological stress, and whether or not a death occurred. But, whatever the scenario, there are options.

Only a certified psychiatrist can determine the best treatment for you, and we at SJG can assist you in getting the counseling and services you need following a car accident.

Now is the time to seek legal advice. It’s completely free and completely confidential.


Put, if you’ve suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to an car accident, you deserve compensation.

The amount of a PTSD settlement varies. The amount of compensation you may get is determined by the other facts of your case but be assured that we value your pain and suffering.

Medical expenditures, future medical expenses, lost earnings, future lost wages, and non- economic damages for emotional anguish, loss of consortium, and other things might be recovered in a settlement.

Cost of visits to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health professional after a car accident

Travel to and from doctor appointments related to PTSD diagnosis and treatment Prescription medications

Treatment for other issues accompanying the PTSD, such as substance abuse treatment

Cost of inpatient mental health and treatment programs related to PTSD when applicable

Reimbursement for mental distress


The insurance company and/or at-fault party identified in the lawsuit will go to great lengths to avoid paying a claim. To show carelessness, your attorney must be meticulous and proactive. One of the most contentious aspects of negligence is causation, which requires your attorney to show that the accident caused your PTSD.

It’s tough to show that someone has a psychological condition. You can’t photograph them to present to a court. Furthermore, significant symptoms may not appear for days or weeks following a car collision. The defense will take advantage of this by making ridiculous arguments to reduce the value of your claim and avoid as much financial exposure as possible.

Do not be embarrassed if your normal physician has referred you to a mental health expert because they suspect PTSD due to a car accident. Make an appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist, let them diagnose you, and get started on therapy right away.

Your therapist will keep track of your appointments, symptoms, and improvement as you continue to see them. Not only will your medical record provide valuable evidence to insurance companies and the court to help prove causation, showing that you have PTSD and how it is linked to the car accident you experienced, but it will also provide valuable evidence to insurance companies and the court to help prove causation, showing that you have PTSD and how it is linked to the car accident you experienced.

Keeping a daily record of your experiences, symptoms, thoughts, and anything related to the car accident is also a good idea. This gives your lawyer another weapon with which to develop your case.


We can assist you if you’re struggling with PTSD while attempting to negotiate a fair settlement with an obstinate insurance company. Choose a car accident legal company familiar with insurance companies’ defensive methods and strategies for avoiding financial obligation.

Don’t add financial hardship to the mental misery you’re already experiencing when depression, anxiety, and other PTSD symptoms lead you to miss work, withdraw from everyday life, and lose your ability to function.

While you concentrate on counseling and learning how to manage with or eradicate your PTSD symptoms, a car accident attorney can handle the technicalities of your case and establish the best plan for seeking the justice you deserve.

Your PTSD is a serious disorder that requires real treatment. Never believe what insurance companies tell you.


It is possible to heal from the symptoms of PTSD and return to a better life by working closely with reputable treatment providers and leaving your case to an experienced personal injury counsel. Begin right now.

Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers
1902 W. Colorado Ave., Ste. 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Free Consultation


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