Being involved in a car accident can be extremely terrifying. In a matter of minutes, you may see another vehicle coming toward you and then hear the loud noise of the impact. In that brief moment, the course of your life may be altered for a long time, and possibly even forever. The sound, sight, and smell of the collision is a traumatic experience that may continue to haunt you for weeks, months or years to come.
Accidents can be very distressing. It’s possible to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the trauma of being involved in a serious accident, especially if the impact happened at high speed or if you’ve been seriously hurt.
Symptoms of PTSD
While PTSD is usually thought of as something that affects soldiers coming home after the war, it’s a condition that can affect anyone who has been through or witnessed a particularly stressful experience. This includes serious accidents, terrorist acts, natural disasters, and violent assaults.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Recurring intrusive thoughts – Thoughts about the trauma play over and over in your mind. You may have distressing dreams or flashbacks. At times, the flashbacks are so vivid you may believe you are reliving the trauma.
- Avoidance behavior – You may go out of your way to try to avoid people, places or activities that remind you of the troubling event. You may try to avoid thinking or talking about what happened.
- Negative thinking – You may be consumed with negative thoughts about yourself and others. You may feel hopeless about the future and detached from family and friends.
- Reactive – You may be easily startled or have outbursts of irritability or anger.
Recognizing PTSD After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Serious injuries after an accident can have a severe impact on your life. You may be unable to work for a period of time or unable to move as freely as you could before the accident.
You may develop a fear of anything that you associate with the day you were injured. The smell of gasoline may make you nauseous or the sound of squealing tires may make you duck or try to cover your head. Some people develop a fear of ever driving again.
These symptoms may appear during the first days or weeks after an accident and may subside as time passes. But when symptoms of intrusive thoughts, reactivity, and negative thinking persist months or even years after an accident, you may have developed PTSD and you should be evaluated by your doctor or mental health professional. If you are diagnosed with this condition, be sure to closely follow any treatment plan that your doctor recommends.
Getting Legal Advice After a Car Accident
PTSD is an example of a condition that can develop quite a while after an accident, sometimes more than a year afterward. Because of the possibility that the full effect your car accident will have on your life and health isn’t apparent right away, it’s important to avoid accepting a low settlement immediately after an accident occurs.
If you have been injured in a California car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or error in judgment and you develop PTSD, you should be compensated. It’s a good idea to consult an expert in the field of personal injury law. Here at Kuvara Law Firm, we have over 40 years’ experience handling many different types of personal injury cases, and we have recovered millions for people who have suffered injuries in car accidents. Fill out our contact form on this page and we’ll be in touch to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.