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PTSD After A Serious Accident

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that is triggered by a traumatic events such as car accidents

ptsd victim getting medical help

PTSD is not the same as any physical injury. The way people handle the stress of the event differs from person to person. While some people can recover and move on, others may be plagued by the fear and anxiety that the event created. That anxiety can manifest into a condition known as a post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a recognized illness that drastically reduces the quality of life for those who suffer from it. If you, or someone in your family, have been diagnosed with PTSD after a car crash in California, contact a California car accident attorney to help you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

PTSD After A Serious Accident

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a form of anxiety disorder where the victim feels constant fear of danger and harm. It’s extremely common in veterans who have come back from war zones. Similarly, PTSD after a serious accident is also quite common.

Accident zones and warzones have a few things in common. Death and the fear of death are the two most important common factors. Serious accidents leading to PTSD may or may not involve death. The perceived fear of death is often enough to trigger PTSD in many people.

Why do accident survivors get PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Going through extreme stress, such as the fear of dying
  • Suffering physical or psychological assault
  • Experiencing health crises (like admission to intensive care unit)
  • Witnessing death and destruction
  • Death of a close person

PTSD is closely associated with the legacy of the Vietnam War. It was only after the war that the American Psychiatric Association recognized PTSD as a psychological disorder. Earlier, there were other terms describing the trauma of returned soldiers – shell shock, war neurosis, etc.

If you pay close attention to the reasons behind PTSD, you will notice that serious vehicle accidents create the same conditions. It triggers the fear of death for both ourselves and other people, and even causes death in many cases. It leads to intense stress where you have to make split-second decisions. A single wrong move can lead to multiple deaths and injuries.

Most victims of PTSD after a serious accident show the first signs of PTSD at hospitals. The experience of a health crisis coupled with fear of loss and pain trigger PTSD in many accident survivors.Most victims of motor vehicle accident (MVA)-related PTSD recover from the condition in around a month. But sometimes it goes on for much longer. War veterans, for example, often never fully recover from PTSD.

How PTSD affects your life

PTSD is a serious psychological condition. There are four main kinds of symptoms of PTSD:

  1. Intrusive and recurring thoughts
  2. Avoiding discussions, images, thoughts, etc. of the traumatic event
  3. Negative emotions: hopelessness, despair, disinterest, etc.
  4. Physical and mental symptoms like insomnia, reacting quickly and frantically, guilt, alcoholism, and irritability

It’s difficult to live a normal life when you have PTSD. The condition affects every aspect of your everyday life.

For example, you may develop a fear of cars or driving. Taking a flight may become a stressful experience for you. You might not enjoy fun activities like amusement parks and bars. Bright lights and noises can trigger fear and panic in you.

There are plenty of obvious PTSD symptoms that make it hard to ignore the condition. If you are suffering from PTSD, or suspect that someone else is, you should not lose hope. With counseling and medication, it’s possible to recover from PTSD. Start treatment as soon as possible to minimize the impact of PTSD.

Can you get legal compensation for PTSD after a serious accident?

Yes, you are liable for compensation for PTSD after a serious car accident. At the same time, it’s difficult to get it without a personal injury attorney. That’s because it’s much harder to prove the existence of PTSD in an individual compared to physical injuries.

First, you must visit counselors and psychologists who would certify that you have PTSD. That’s why it’s important to start treatment the moment you realize the earliest symptoms of PTSD.

You are entitled to compensation for PTSD caused by a serious accident, but you have to prove your case in court. Get in touch with an experienced car injury lawyer to get the compensation you deserve. Since it’s trickier than getting compensation for physical injuries, you would typically need legal advice from experienced attorneys.

Victims of PTSD would often not be in a state to go through the legal processes themselves. If you know someone who is suffering from PTSD, you must help them with medical and legal assistance. With the right legal assistance, it’s possible to get compensation for PTSD after a serious accident. 

How to cope with MVA-Related PTSD?

Coping with PTSD is not easy, and certainly not without medical assistance. Therapists and psychologists would typically spend a long time with the victims, understanding their PTSD and coming up with ways to overcome it. 

Here are some common strategies to recover from PTSD

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Victims of PTSD have a hard time thinking about the events that led to their trauma. Under prolonged exposure therapy, a trained therapist gradually exposes the patient to the event, helping them accept the reality of the event in the process. With time, the victim’s emotional response to the event decreases, and they slowly recover from PTSD.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Cognitive processing therapy involves asking questions to the victim of PTSD to reveal how they feel about the incident. If they feel shame or guilt, the therapist would continue asking questions that help them overcome those feelings. The idea is to get rid of the negative emotions associated with the event.

Service animals

Service animals provide constant emotional and physical support to their owners. Psychologists are still exploring various facets of animal therapy, but many factors point toward the efficacy of service animals in dealing with PTSD.


There’s no proven medical cure for PTSD, but certain drugs can help mitigate the symptoms. Only licensed psychiatrists can prescribe such drugs. Even alternative medicine works for PTSD, cannabis therapy being a prominent example. 

With therapy and medical supervision, it’s possible to recover from PTSD.

Don’t let PTSD discourage you

With the right legal and medical help, there’s light at the end of the tunnel of PTSD. People closest to the victim must provide them with the first emotional support, followed by professional help. 

Compensation for PTSD after a serious accident is your legal right. Get in touch with a personal injury lawyer to claim your compensation.

For a free consultation call (909) 380-7200!


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