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Can You Get PTSD From a Car Accident?

One of the worst consequences of being involved in a serious car accident is the possibility of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition which can haunt you for the rest of your life.

In this article, we will take a look at the connection between car accidents and PTSD and the legal options available for people who developed PTSD as a result of being involved in a car accident:

What is PTSD?

It is a condition that you can develop as a result of being exposed to or being involved in a traumatic incident. The most common examples of traumatic incidents that can cause PTSD include

  • Violent physical or sexual assault
  • Domestic abuse
  • Serious motor vehicle accidents
  • Being abducted and held hostage
  • Being tortured
  • Natural disasters
  • Losing a baby, especially during childbirth  

Victims of serious motor vehicle accidents, in particular, are more likely to develop the disorder compared to people who are exposed to other kinds of traumatic events. In fact, a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that close to 40% of motor vehicle accident victims tend to develop PTSD.

How PTSD Affects You

There are primarily four ways in which PTSD can affect you:

Intrusion – Re-experiencing and reliving the traumatic incident again and again in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, auditory memories, visual memories, and physical reactions like pain, excessive sweating, rapid breathing, and giddiness.

Avoidance – Avoiding people, places, situations, and objects that remind you of the traumatic incident.

Hyper Arousal – Being in a state of increased alertness all the time.

Negativity – Changing your worldview based on the traumatic experience you went through. For example, survivors of a horrific car accident might start thinking that driving a vehicle is an inherently dangerous activity.

In addition to this, you might also experience the symptoms listed below:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Inability to focus on things
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

Car Accidents and PTSD

Data from the American Psychological Association shows that serious car accidents – particularly those in which the victims sustain severe, life altering injuries – are the leading cause of stress disorders among the general population in the country.

Also, data from the National Center for PTSD shows that a significant percentage of motor vehicle accident victims tend to seek treatment for PTSD related problems like mood disorders.

Treating PTSD

Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for PTSD. The condition, however, can be managed very effectively with the help of medications, therapy, and relaxation techniques. Cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy, in particular, are very effective in treating the condition.

What Should You Do If You Have Developed PTSD As a Result of a Car Accident?

If you have developed PTSD as a result of a car accident, you are eligible to seek damages from the person who caused the accident. Car accident victims in Alabama have a two-year window to file a personal injury lawsuit against the parties at fault. So, you should hire a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible and take legal action against the parties responsible for the accident.

First and foremost, quantifying the damages caused by PTSD is not easy. It is a long-term condition which can adversely affect your personal, professional, and social life. In order to make sure that you are adequately compensated for your pain and suffering, your attorney must establish – with the help of expert witnesses – the following:

  • You are suffering from PTSD;
  • You developed the condition as a result of the car accident;
  • The car accident was caused as a direct result of the defendant’s negligence;
  • How long your PTSD is expected to persist and what kind of treatment you need.

Based on the aforementioned factors, your attorney can come up with an appropriate amount of compensation that you can seek from the defendant.

Secondly, and more importantly, Alabama is among the handful of states that follow the contributory negligence rule when it comes to accidents. If the defendant manages to prove that your own actions contributed to the accident in some way, you will not be able to receive any compensation.

This is why you need a skilled and experienced lawyer who can figure out the arguments that the defendant’s side is likely to make, prepare compelling counter arguments, and establish that the accident was caused directly as a result of the defendant’s actions.

Car Accident Lawyers in Alabama

Mann & Potter, PC has been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of car accident victims in Alabama for over 20 years now. Our lawyers are highly skilled, extremely resourceful, and have several years of experience handling personal injury lawsuits.

We can provide you with the kind of aggressive legal representation you need to win even more complex cases. We will use every single tool in our legal arsenal to help ensure that you are fully compensated for the pain and suffering you experienced – and likely to experience for the foreseeable future – as a result of PTSD. Contact our personal injury attorneys today at 205-879-9661.