When most people think of automobile crashes, other types of accidents, and the injuries sustained, they think of the physical trauma that occurs as a result. Emotional and psychological trauma, on the other hand, is just as common and can have more debilitating and long-lasting effects than some physical injuries.
While emotional trauma, like PTSD, can be more difficult to diagnose and is not always treated with the same sympathy as physical injuries, it is a valid condition with serious long-term consequences for an individual’s life.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of mental illness caused by observing or experiencing a frightening event or accident. Flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event, may be symptoms.
Most individuals who experience traumatic events have temporary difficulties adjusting and coping, but they usually get better with time and healthy self-care. One may have PTSD if their symptoms worsen, last for months or even years, and interfere with daily functioning.
Getting effective treatment as soon as PTSD symptoms appear can help to reduce symptoms and improve function. PTSD is not always an immediate response after an accident and can sometimes appear months or years later.
Who Can Have PTSD?
Any person of any age can develop PTSD. This includes war veterans, children, adults, and people who have experienced physical or sexual assault, abuse, an accident, a natural disaster, or other traumatic events. According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately 6 out of every 100 will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. Additionally, women are more likely than men to develop PTSD (8 out of every 100 women, compared to 4 out of every 100 men), and certain genetic factors may predispose some people to develop PTSD.
Not everyone who has PTSD has been through a traumatic event. Some people develop PTSD after a friend or family member is threatened or injured or after a loved one has gone through a life-threatening accident.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), about 1 in 3 people who go through a severe trauma or accident will develop PTSD. There is no concrete answer to why certain people experience PTSD and others do not. Studies have shown that PTSD was more prevalent in those that had abnormally high levels of stress hormones.
Symptoms of PTSD After an Accident
Symptoms of PTSD will not always present themselves immediately after an accident, which is why it is best to continually consult a medical profession to discuss any ailments that could have been caused by a car accident.
PTSD symptoms are not identical from person to person. However, most people that are diagnosed with PTSD experience some of the following:
- Anxiety, especially when driving
- Avoiding certain places or people
- Flashbacks or disrupting thoughts relating to the accident
- Not connecting to people or surroundings the same way
- Refusing to drive
Many people with PTSD will have most, if not all, of the symptoms listed, along with the possibility of other conditions. It may be hard to recognize PTSD, especially in people that already experience anxiety or other mental disorders. Consistent communication with a medical expert is key to diagnosing and proving PTSD.
Proving PTSD After an Accident
Regardless of the fact that car accidents are one of the primary causes of PTSD, it can be difficult for survivors to prove they are suffering from psychological trauma. PTSD symptoms are sometimes overlooked. Doctors and victims alike frequently attribute any initial feelings of anxiety or irritability to shock or a relatively normal short-term effect. If a victim ignores their symptoms, a doctor may also oversee the symptoms and not realize they should have diagnosed a patient with PTSD. This will make receiving compensation for PTSD difficult in the future without the testimony of an expert.
Despite how someone thinks they feel after an accident, they should always consult a physician and never leave a concern or symptom unmentioned. In order to prove PTSD for a court, the accident victim will always need a doctor’s evaluation and diagnosis.
Also, whereas minor accidents can cause PTSD, the more severe the accident, the more likely the person will experience long-term psychological effects. Evidence of severity can include witness testimony, video footage, and proof of physical damage to the victim or the car or vehicles involved.
The Benefits of Proving PTSD After an Accident
Nevada is not a “no-fault” state, so they do not need to file a claim with their insurance company or show a certain level of severity in order to claim PTSD. The main benefit of getting a PTSD diagnosis after an accident is to be properly compensated for the lasting impact PTSD has on the victim.
Many people will battle with PTSD for the rest of their lives after an accident, which can cause mental anguish and even affect quality of life with relationships and work. When filing a personal injury lawsuit in court, the plaintiff can include non-economic damages like PTSD and pain and suffering in their damages.
A doctor’s diagnosis of PTSD will allow the plaintiff to adequately be compensated for the mental anguish. Some may try to claim PTSD without having proved it, which can limit the amount of damages they receive in court or through a settlement.
On a more personal level, gaining a PTSD diagnosis can have added benefits. Often, individuals who experience these symptoms after an accident struggle to understand what’s happening. PTSD is not commonly brought up as a consequence of car accidents, and this can leave crash victims struggling if they do not have a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Hiring an Attorney to Help Show PTSD After an Accident
If you’re having trouble proving that your emotional trauma or PTSD is the result of a car accident, speaking with a personal injury lawyer can give you the advice and key to successfully receiving the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies will fight personal injury claims in any way they can to reduce the amount they must pay to the victim, particularly to PTSD claims. Please call 702-680-1111 or contact us online so we can start discussing your case.