What you should know about car accidents and PTSD
PTSD caused by car accidents can create hardship for accident victims. Yet, compensation through legal action is available for mental or emotional pain or anguish. It has only been within the last 20 years, that medical professionals have recognized the psychological consequences of motor vehicle accidents. However, doctors can diagnose whether a car accident caused PTSD and treat patients for it.
What are the common signs of PTSD?
PTSD symptoms may not arise until a month or more after the accident. However, symptoms frequently include:
- Re-experiencing the trauma. Through persistent thoughts about the incident, the accident victim may relive what happened. Or the victim may have nightmares about it. In addition, other reactions can arise due to reliving the trauma, such as insomnia, depression, mood swings, anxiety, irrational fears, and drug or alcohol abuse.
- Reluctance or refusal to drive. The individual may no longer want to take the same route to work. They may avoid driving on interstate freeways. Some never want to drive again.
- Numbing of emotional responsiveness. The injured individual may experience a reduction or absence of emotions. They might feel detached or want to isolate themselves from others.
- Increased agitation. They may experience greater emotional irritability, disturbed sleep, or hypersensitivity that manifests as exaggerated startled reactions. They might become more antisocial around other people.
Texas Statutes Allow Personal Injury Victims to Seek Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages under Texas statutes compensate victims for losses that are not monetary. Examples of monetary losses include bills for medical treatment or lost wages. By comparison, non-economic damages would not only include physical pain and suffering, but also mental or emotional pain or anguish.
Individuals left with chronic pain caused by a vehicle accident often experience PTSD. In fact, one study assessing PTSD showed that 69% of those with PTSD also experienced chronic pain.
PTSD Diagnosis and Treatment
Medical practitioners can do advanced screening and diagnose PTSD. Proof of diagnosis is necessary when seeking non-economic compensation. PTSD treatment expenses would also fall under economic damages.
Various types of PTSD therapy include:
- Psychoeducation (information and support to cope with illness)
- Relaxation training (techniques that help a person relax, increase their state of calmness or otherwise reduce anxiety or stress)
- Cognitive reappraisal training (strategy using cognitive control to change the meaning and emotional response to stimuli or situations)
- A small amount of in vivo exposure (directly facing the feared object in life)
Experienced Legal Guidance for PTSD Caused by Car Accidents
While based in San Antonio, the Law Office of Michael R. De La Paz has handled numerous accident cases all over Texas, from Terrel to Odessa.
Initial consultations are free and at no obligation. We represent cases on a contingency fee basis—we are paid only if we win or settle your case. Therefore, there are no out-of-pocket expenses.