Managing PTSD After an Accident

injured woman after a car accident

Car accidents are sudden and often-traumatic events. More than 22 percent of car accident survivors are estimated to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a meta-analysis of studies published by the National Institutes of Health.

PTSD is a serious condition that affects the lives of accident victims just as much as debilitating physical injuries. While many physical injuries heal over time, it can take much longer to recover from the psychological and emotional trauma of a devastating car accident.

At the law office of Derek L. Hall, P.C., we understand that PTSD is a common and devastating consequence of many Mississippi car accidents. If you believe you may be suffering from accident-related PTSD, contact our caring and attentive car accident attorneys today to learn more about your legal options in a free and confidential consultation.

How Do You Know If You Have PTSD after a Car Accident?

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that can affect people who witness or experience traumatic events involving death, severe injuries, or disturbing threats. Car accidents can be incredibly violent and traumatic incidents that may trigger PTSD in victims, even if they sustain no physical injuries.

If you suspect that you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress after a car crash in Mississippi, consider the following common symptoms of PTSD:

  • Intrusive thoughts – People suffering from PTSD often have intrusive and recurring flashbacks of the accident that disrupt their daily lives. Victims also commonly struggle with nightmares and persistent feelings of misplaced guilt.
  • Numbing feelings and behaviors – Some victims feel numb after an accident and may struggle to connect with their emotions or appreciate the activities they used to enjoy. PTSD sufferers also sometimes abuse alcohol or other substances to intentionally numb unpleasant memories and feelings.
  • Avoidant behaviors – Accident victims with PTSD sometimes avoid people, places, and situations associated with the trauma they endured. This can lead to the development of panic disorders and even new phobias, such as an irrational fear of driving or even riding in a car.
  • States of constant anxiety – Some victims become hyper-vigilant as a result of PTSD. States of constant alertness often lead to sleep disturbances, reduced ability to focus, and feelings of paranoia.

Does PTSD Count as ‘Injury’ in a Car Accident?

Car accident victims often file claims to seek compensation for the physical injuries they suffer. But what happens when an accident causes a non-physical injury, like PTSD?

Even if PTSD is an invisible injury, it has very real effects on a person’s life and still counts as an injury. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you can file what is known as a “pain and suffering” claim, which can seek compensation for non-physical damage, such as PTSD.

However, it’s often much more difficult to pursue a successful pain and suffering claim because:

  • It’s more difficult to demonstrate the effects and severity of a mental and emotional condition like PTSD.
  • You must obtain a professional diagnosis that not only demonstrates that you have PTSD, but also that your PTSD was directly caused by the accident.
  • Determining the value of your claim is not as straightforward, especially if you have no hospital bills or other direct expenses from the treatment of PTSD.

Despite these hurdles, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation in a PTSD claim. The attorneys of Derek L. Hall, PC, can assist you with finding a mental health professional to diagnose and treat your PTSD, developing a “pain journal” to document the day-to-day effects of your PTSD, and filing a strong claim for pain and suffering compensation.

Will the Cost of Treatment Be Covered by Insurance?

Sometimes. Some auto insurance policies provide coverage for any psychiatric attention policyholders require after an accident, though many do not. If you need costly psychological counseling to recover from your accident-related PTSD, but your insurance provider refuses to pay, you can pursue compensation in an injury claim to reimburse you for the costs of treatment.

A successful claim for your accident-related PTSD can provide compensation for:

  • Traditional therapy – This is standard psychiatric therapy that involves regular conversations with a qualified therapist to explore connections between your unconscious beliefs and your conscious feelings or actions.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – This is a type of therapy commonly prescribed for PTSD patients that attempts to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) – This is a form of psychotherapy that uses sensory inputs, such as eye movements, to help PTSD sufferers recover from traumatic events.
  • Rehabilitation programs – If a PTSD victim turns to substance abuse to cope with their trauma, compensation from a successful claim could help them cover the costs associated with alcohol or drug rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages – If your PTSD was so severe that you were unable to work for a period of time, you could be entitled to compensation for any lost wages.

How Long Can PTSD Last After an Accident?

Depending on the severity of the accident and the psychological state of the person, PTSD can last for as little as several months to as long as several years or more. If PTSD is not treated properly, victims may even suffer complications for the rest of their lives.

There is no guarantee that psychological treatment will eliminate PTSD, but getting the help you need as quickly as possible is the best way to manage your symptoms and prevent additional suffering.

Even if you feel relatively normal weeks or months after a car accident, certain situations, experiences, or other stimuli may trigger your PTSD in the future. While there’s no definitive cure for PTSD, timely and professional treatment can improve your current psychological outlook and prepare you for any complications that arise later on.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

The car accident lawyers of Derek L. Hall, P.C., can support your Mississippi PTSD claim by:

  • Thoroughly investigating the accident for proof of liability
  • Helping you find the mental health care you need to diagnose and treat your PTSD
  • Identifying and preserving evidence to support your claim
  • Establishing a strong claim that definitively demonstrates the causes and effects of your accident-related PTSD
  • Negotiating for the full and fair compensation you deserve for your suffering

We offer free, confidential consultations at no obligation to you. We represent car crash PTSD victims on a contingency fee basis, which means that we never charge any legal fees unless we win money for your claim.

Contact us today to speak with our experienced Mississippi attorneys.