PTSD After a Car Accident
Did you know that around 9% of all people involved in a motor vehicle accident suffer from post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD after a car accident? That’s a huge number when you think about how many traffic accidents there are every year.
My name is Barry Zlotowicz and I am a Chicago personal injury lawyer. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a psychiatric disorder suffered by people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a war, violent assault or, a serious car accident, among other things.
You can in fact recover for PTSD or other emotional distress you suffered as a result of a car accident.
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) published the results of a study of PTSD called “Traumatic Stress and Motor Vehicle Accidents.” Here is the link to the study: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/trauma/other/traumatic-stress-vehicle-accidents.asp . The study found that “approximately 9% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD.”
Some of symptoms of PTSD that I have seen include:
• Severe nightmares
• Vivid flashbacks to the event
• Anxiety while driving their vehicle (in the location where the
• Inability to sleep
• Hesitance to speak about the accident
• Detachment from significant others
• Lack of concentration
• Lack of interest in sex
• Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
But every case is different – look out for personality changes after the accident. It could be almost anything.
So, What should you do? First, do NOT delay in seeking treatment for your symptoms. The longer you delay, the larger the “gap in treatment” after the accident. Gaps in treatment are something that the auto insurance company will capitalize on to diminish the value of your claim.
Also, make sure your symptoms are documented. If the PTSD is not “documented” by a medical professional, it will be extremely difficult to recover for it. I’ve represented many people who insisted that they suffered nightmares and other symptoms often associated with PTSD. However, they did not seek any medical attention for their symptoms. If the symptoms are not documented by a physician or mental health provider, they don’t exist to the insurance company.
Finally, PTSD is not something to be messed with. I always tell all my clients the same thing: forget about your case and focus on your health. Get the care you need. And that applies to PTSD as well. You can recover all the money in the world but if you are still suffering from anxiety while driving your car 2 years after your accident, the money is meaningless.