If you were in a serious car accident, this event might cause you to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The sudden and startling nature of car accidents could cause a person to develop PTSD. However, some individuals are more prone to developing PTSD than others. If you or a family member was in a car accident and now suffers from PTSD, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer. At Reiff & Bily, our lawyers will work tirelessly to help you pursue your PTSD claim. Our lawyers are here to explain whether car accidents often cause PTSD in Pennsylvania.
PTSD and Car Accident Statistics
According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately one percent of the United States population is injured in serious car accidents every year. This translates into about three million injuries from car accidents each year. Despite how severe a car accident could be, most people do not develop PTSD after a serious car accident.
About nine percent of individuals involved in a car accident develop PTSD. Other car accident victims can develop depression and anxiety disorders or emotional distress. Nearly 50% of car accident victims who seek mental health treatment and are diagnosed with PTSD are often diagnosed with some other mood disorder like depression as well. Additionally, in a study conducted by the National Center for PTSD, about 27% of car accident victims suffered from anxiety, while another 15% stated they feared driving.
To learn more about the causes and frequency of PTSD after a car accident, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.
Risk Factors for PTSD from an Auto Accident
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness that typically occurs when a person experiences or witnesses a life-threatening event, like a vehicle collision. Any person can develop PTSD, but there are risk factors that may increase the likelihood of a person having PTSD after an accident. According to the National Center for PTSD, there are some risk factors for PTSD that cannot be controlled, like a person’s age and gender.
One common risk factor for PTSD is living through previous traumatic events. A car accident victim’s ability to cope with an earlier traumatic event can be linked to PTSD. If a person has a lingering mental health issue regarding a frightening event in their past, this may increase the likelihood of having PTSD after a car accident. Additionally, the level of family and social support a victim receives after a traumatic incident is also correlated with the development of PTSD.
If a person is involved in a dangerous vehicle collision and they believe they will die or someone close to them will die, there is an increased possibility of developing PTSD after the accident, as opposed to a crash that is merely scary or shocking. Another risk factor for PTSD is suffering a serious injury that will take a substantial amount of time to recover from. Victims with injuries that significantly impact their career and personal life often are at a higher risk of having PTSD.
Recognizing the Symptoms of PTSD after a Car Crash
The signs and symptoms of PTSD could start immediately after a car accident, or it is possible they may begin months or years after the incident. It is also possible that you may have symptoms that emerge, disappear, and reappear over time. However, many people who suffer from PTSD have symptoms that last longer than four weeks, and which invade every area of their life.
Generally, there are four types of signs and symptoms that show you may have PTSD:
- Flashbacks – A serious car accident may cause you to have nightmares and persistent memories of the crash. Some victims even feel like they are reliving the car accident.
- Evasion – Individuals who have severe distress from a car accident may try to avoid any scenario or topic that will trigger memories about the crash.
- Consistent Negative Thoughts – A traumatic car crash may cause you to view yourself and the world differently. For example, you may blame yourself for the accident. Other symptoms can be a decreased interest in your favorite activities and fear of exploring the world. You may also constantly feel sad.
- Hyperarousal – You may be hyper-aroused if you constantly look for danger that is not present. Other signs of hyperarousal include being easily scared or exhibiting behavior that is unhealthy.
It is important to note that every individual who has PTSD does not experience these symptoms. Additionally, you may experience similar symptoms but not experience full-fledged PTSD. Regardless, you may be able to seek damages for emotional distress and other harms resulting from the crash.
Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here to Represent You
If you or a loved one developed PTSD after a serious car accident, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney. At Reiff & Bily, our attorneys will diligently work with you and your family to determine if you have a cause of action for contracting PTSD after a car crash. To schedule a free legal consultation, call us at (215) 274-0072, or contact us online.