Can a Car Accident Cause PTSD?

Posted by Nagle & Associates | Oct 24th, 2021 |

Vehicle accidents are traumatic events, and they can significantly affect those involved. Most commonly, people think about visible traumatic injuries that occur after a vehicle accident happens. However, what about the unseen injuries that drivers and passengers sustain as a result of the accident? Did you know that vehicle accidents are a leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? 

Here, we want to discuss the symptoms of PTSD after a vehicle accident as well as whether or not individuals can recover compensation for these types of injuries.

Do Car Accidents Cause PTSD?

Various studies have confirmed that vehicle accidents do cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When we look at information available from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), we can see that nearly 40% of all motor vehicle accident survivors develop symptoms of PTSD. This is a significant number of individuals, particularly when we look at information provided by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

During the latest reporting year across this state, we can see that there were 285,074 total vehicle accidents reported. Out of these incidents, there were 125,232 total injuries reported and 1,470 total fatalities. Using the data mentioned above, approximately 50,000 individuals in the state of North Carolina experience symptoms of PTSD each year as a result of vehicle accidents.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental and emotional condition caused or triggered by various types of traumatic events. This can include actually experiencing a traumatic event or even just witnessing the event occur. Some of the main symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks related to the incident itself
  • Changes in emotional reactions
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Negative changes in thinking or mood

How to Prove PTSD After a Crash Occurs?

It can be challenging to prove PTSD after a vehicle accident occurs in North Carolina. The reality is that there are no direct bills or receipts associated with these types of injuries. It is much easier for an insurance carrier or personal injury jury to understand acute traumatic injuries like broken and dislocated bones or traumatic brain injuries than it is for them to comprehend PTSD after a crash occurs.

However, there are various ways that individuals can substantiate PTSD claims after a vehicle accident occurs. This can include:

  • Seeking treatment from a psychiatrist or psychologist
  • Keeping a daily journal that documents psychological and emotional traumas an individual experiences after a car accident
  • Testimony from friends or family members who can talk about how the crash and injuries have changed a person
  • Personal testimony from the individual with PTSD

Working With an Attorney for This Compensation

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by another driver in North Carolina, you need to work with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to help you recover compensation for all of your injuries, including the visible traumatic ones as well as hidden injuries such as symptoms of PTSD.

Emotional and psychological trauma typically fall under the non-economic damage umbrella after a vehicle accident occurs. This means that these types of losses are more immeasurable, but there are still ways to properly calculate damages in these situations. Often, an attorney will use a multiplier method when working to substantiate the value of a PTSD claim. This means that they will add up all of the economic expenses associated with the incident (medical bills, lost wages, property damage, etc.) and then multiply that total by a set number. 

For example, if a person experiences $100,000 worth of economic damages, an attorney may use a multiplier of “four” to reach a total of $400,000 for non-economic damages. Overall, the attorney would ask for $500,000 in compensation for their client. Contact our Raleigh car accident attorneys today.