Friday, January 16, 2015

Can a Motor Vehicle Accident Cause PTSD?

When most people think of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they think of veterans returning from war zones or of victims of violent crimes. However, you may not realize that PTSD may result from any type of sudden traumatic event. For many people, being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident can trigger PTSD, which can continue for months or even years and cause many complications for an accident victim.

If your auto accident in Clearwater was caused by the negligence of another driver or party, you deserve to recover for all losses you suffered as a result. This includes recovery for your physical injuries and emotional trauma, which includes PTSD treatment. If you have been in a motor vehicle accident and you believe you may be suffering from PTSD, your first step should always be to seek proper medical attention and treatment. Next, you should always call an experienced personal injury attorney to find out how you may recover for your losses.

What is PTSD?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)1 published by the American Psychiatric Association, you can be diagnosed with PTSD if you have been exposed to an event that resulted in actual or threatened injuries, death, or violence and suffer some or all of the following symptoms:

·         Involuntary and recurring intrusive memories of the event.
·         Traumatic nightmares.
·         Involuntary flashbacks that may result in a “blackout” period of lost consciousness.
·         Prolonged or intense psychological and/or physiological distress after reminders of the incident.
·         Persistent avoidance of any traumatic reminders, which may even lead to refusal to leave the house.
·         Memory loss of the traumatic event.
·         Depression, marked loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, alienation from others, self-blame or self-harm, and other emotional responses.

PTSD following a motor vehicle accident
Motor vehicle accidents occur suddenly, generally with little or no warning, and can be very violent experiences. Many motor vehicles involved in accidents can lose control, roll over multiple times, cause chain reaction crashes, and more. This experience can be highly disorienting and traumatic for accident victims, especially younger children who do not understand the risks of motor vehicle collisions.

Studies have shown2 that nearly 10 percent of individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents develop PTSD symptoms as a result of their experience. Some symptoms specifically related to PTSD induced by motor vehicle accidents include fear or driving, fear of riding as a passenger in any type of motor vehicle, and related anxiety disorders. As you can imagine, having an intense fear of traveling in motor vehicles can have a substantially limiting effect on a victim's life. In some instances, victims who refuse to ride in a motor vehicle are unable to get to work or school, medical appointments, and other important obligations. Others require extensive counseling, therapy, and/or medication in order to tolerate motor vehicle travel.

Many factors can put an individual at risk of PTSD following a motor vehicle accident, including the following:

·         Already having limited or poor coping abilities prior to the accident.
·         Having existing mental health problems prior to the accident.
·         Suffering severe physical injury in the accident.
·         Losing a significant other or another loved one in the accident.
·         Slow physical recovery from your accident-related injuries.
·         Serious physical limitations due to your injuries.
·         Challenges with reengaging in school or work following the accident due to your injuries.

If you have suffered physical or emotional injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was someone else's fault, you have the legal right to hold the responsible party liable for your losses. Call the Dolman Law Group in Florida to discuss a possible case at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900