Can I Develop PTSD After an Accident?

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Survivors of motor vehicle, truck and train accidents can suffer physical injuries that significantly reduce their quality of life. However, psychological injuries are also common after surviving an accident. Some people may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after an accident, a health condition that can arise after experiencing a traumatic event.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs says that up to 9 percent of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD. There are also several risk factors that can increase the odds of developing this crippling disorder. Factors that can increase the risk include:

  • Other past traumatic events
  • Preexisting mental health conditions
  • A family history of mental illness
  • Experiencing a life-threatening trauma or witnessing a loss of life
  • Poor social support before and after the accident
  • Suffering a severe physical injury

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of PTSD can include trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating and a feeling of overwhelming guilt. Many people have nightmares or flashbacks where they relive the traumatic experience. It is more difficult for individuals with PTSD to engage in normal life activities due to severe anxiety and depression. Living with this disorder also increases the risk of suicide.

What Other Types of Trauma Can Cause PTSD?

Many other types of traumatic events can cause PTSD. This disorder is not limited to survivors of auto or train accidents. Certain types of medical mistakes can lead to the disorder. For example, people who experience anesthesia awareness can develop severe PTSD. This is a phenomenon where a person wakes up during a surgical procedure. Children who are sexually abused are likely to develop PTSD and other mental health disorders. Employees who witness fatal work accidents can also suffer from PTSD.

Personal injury cases can factor in the noneconomic damages caused by PTSD or other psychological injuries. Much like a physical injury, people with this disorder need medical and rehabilitation services. Many people with PTSD will require psychological services for the rest of their lives.

The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., can help victims of negligence learn of their legal rights and options.