Craig P. Tiller, Esq. PLLC

Is post-traumatic stress disorder possible after an accident?

The problems of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in military professionals in Virginia and around the country are well-documented. A lesser-known form of PTSD can occur after a catastrophic life event like an automobile accident. It is an emotional disorder that, in many cases, can be just as serious as the physical injuries that often arise from an accident.

After an accident, particularly a serious one where injuries or death result, emotional trauma is common. A car accident victim may have to deal with the process of rehabilitating from catastrophic injuries, sometimes even loss of limbs. Along with this are the day-to-day results of an accident, such as lost wages, mounting medical expenses and even the loss of a job. PTSD slows down recovery significantly.

Those who suffer from PTSD often encounter continuing feelings of restlessness or depression along with episodes of uncontrolled anger. They may feel oddly disconnected from the people and events of life. They also may replay the traumatic event over and over in their mind without successful resolution. Guilt is often a part of post-traumatic disorder. For instance, a father who gets into an accident with a drunk driver where his children are killed may feel guilty about having asked them to accompany him.

Serious PTSD can also include frightening nightmares and suicidal thoughts. Therapy may be needed to overcome them. Medication might also be prescribed.

When PTSD occurs as the direct result of a car accident, it may be possible to obtain compensation for the cost of long-term recovery. However, direct causality needs to be established, which might not be as easy with mental disorders as with physical injuries. A personal injury lawyer can be of assistance in such cases. A lawyer might attempt to use witness testimony, the observations of psychologists and the history of events to establish causality. No information in this article should be construed as specific legal advice.

Source:, "Post-traumatic Stress After a Traffic Accident", January 05, 2015

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