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Can You Develop PTSD After a Car Accident?

Young man holds his head in his hand with concern as he sits in the driver's side of his car with the window open

As you know, car accidents can be very frightening and traumatic experiences to endure. Unfortunately, car accidents happen all the time and they can impact people’s lives for years to come.

Since car accidents can be seriously damaging, is it possible for a crash victim to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result?

Read on to find out.

PTSD Following a Car Accident

Essentially, you can develop PTSD from any traumatic event. It can occur when you think you are in danger of losing your life.

While it is possible to develop PTSD as a result of a car accident, not everyone does. Some people are impacted by trauma far more severely than others. The reason why is not fully understood.

According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, “The prevalence of PTSD differs according to both gender and ethnicity. An estimated 8.7% of the U.S. adult population matches the criteria for PTSD with women more likely to develop symptoms than men. Compared with non-Latino European Americans within the U.S., elevated rates of PTSD have been reported mainly among U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians. Research also suggests that Asian-Americans have the lowest rates of PTSD within the country.”

PTSD Warning Signs

Following a car wreck, you may not realize you have developed PTSD. Sometimes the symptoms are not easy to recognize and you may not immediately be aware you are experiencing them.

If you have all of the following symptoms for at least one month, it is possible you’ve developed PTSD:

  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms

Examples of PTSD Symptoms

Some examples of re-experiencing symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks - reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Nightmares
  • Frightening thoughts

Some examples of avoidance symptoms include:

  • Avoiding certain places, events, or items that remind you of the traumatic experience
  • Dodging thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event

Some examples of arousal and reactivity symptoms include:

  • Getting startled easily
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Having episodes of rage

Some examples of cognition and mood symptoms include:

  • Difficulty remembering key elements of the traumatic event
  • Derogatory thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities

If you’ve recently been in a car accident and you are experiencing the symptoms above, you may have developed PTSD as a result of the crash. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you may be owed compensation and our team can help you recover it.

Call the skilled attorneys at Wallace Pierce Law today at (919) 887-7892 to discuss the details of your case.

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