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PTSD And Car Accidents in California

PTSD And Car Accidents in California
Marc Karlin

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) produces a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. Victims of PTSD are often powerless against reliving the traumatic events that happened to them or stopping intrusive thoughts. While often associated with veterans and victims of abuse or violent crimes, it can happen to anyone due to any type of sudden or unexpected event. In cases involving PTSD and car accidents, Karlin & Karlin has decades of experience helping clients obtain the compensation they are entitled under the law in a car accident claim. Consider calling the experienced car accident attorneys at Karlin & Karlin today at 888-295-0138 and request a free consultation to discuss how we can ensure your legal rights remain protected.

PTSD and Car Accidents: Know the Risks

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), nearly one out of every ten people will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives. It can happen as the result of any sudden and unexpected event, such as a car accident. Suffering injuries as a result of a serious car accident or even a relatively minor collision can cause a victim to re-experience the moment of impact for a significant amount of time. In a major crash, the sights, sounds, and feelings surrounding the event may be relived on a regular basis for years.

The APA reports that PTSD can happen to anyone, regardless of age, nationality, religion, or socioeconomic status. However, there are some factors that can increase PTSD and car accident risks:

  • Having been involved in a prior car crash or other traumatic experience;
  • Suffering abuse either as a child or in the more recent past;
  • A family history of depression;
  • Problems with drugs or alcohol;
  • A lack of support among family and friends;
  • Lack of access to medical care and mental health supports;
  • Generally poor coping skills;
  • Being under significant amounts of stress in other areas of your life.

Car accident-related PTSD is also more likely to happen when you or someone else involved in the crash suffers serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries.

Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident

Getting thoroughly examined by a doctor is vitally important in the aftermath of any type of car accident. Even if you have no obvious symptoms, Karlin & Karlin encourages car accident victims to seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Not doing so could endanger your health as well as your legal rights in a car accident claim.

Symptoms of potentially serious conditions may be subtle, taking hours, days, or even weeks to appear. This is particularly true when it comes to PTSD and car accidents. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) warns that crashes and collisions have the most common cause of PTSD since the Vietnam War, it is therefore important for car accident victims and their families to be alert for common symptoms. These include:

  • Suffering recurrent and intrusive thoughts about the car accident, injuries suffered, or what happened in the aftermath;
  • Feeling as if you are reliving the event and the feelings experienced;
  • Having difficulty concentrating;
  • Problems sleeping;
  • Suffering nightmares and dreaming about the crash;
  • Being overly fearful, anxious, or irritable;
  • Isolating from family and friends;
  • Avoiding driving and other normal activities.

In addition to the mental health impacts of PTSD, suffering such emotional trauma can impact the physical health of car accident victims as well. Lack of appetite or overeating, weight loss or weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, widespread body aches or pains, and chronic headaches are all common. In addition, having trouble concentrating and lack of sleep generally increases accident risks. Sadly, this means that what victims of PTSD and car accidents fear most-another crash- may be more likely to happen.

Treatment For PTSD And Car Accidents

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises drivers and passengers to be routinely screened for PTSD in the aftermath of any type of crash or collision. This is particularly true for those involved in car accidents resulting in serious personal injuries. Early interventions, such as simply showing concern for the victim and acknowledging how traumatic the event was, can help in reducing the risks of developing PTSD symptoms.

In patients who are diagnosed with PTSD, getting the proper treatment can reduce recovery time and the impact it has on the victim’s life. Healthy behaviors, such as eating right, getting exercise each day, and having a regular sleep schedule, are important. The NIH also advises three types of therapy that are known to be effective in treating PTSD:

  • Supportive therapy, which involves attending regular visits with a mental health professional experienced in PTSD, where the victim discusses the accident, their feelings about it, and any ongoing symptoms.
  • Cognitive therapy, which involves finding coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and other symptoms of PTSD, such as deep breathing exercises and guided meditations.
  • Exposure therapy, which involves attempting tasks, such as driving or being a passenger in a vehicle, that PTSD previously prevented the patient from doing.

PTSD and Car Accident Claims

Under Section 1714 of the California Civil Code, every person is responsible for actions or inactions they take that put others at risk. When PTSD happens as a result of a car accident, the at-fault driver can be held liable for the costs the victim incurs in a claim. Depending on the specific circumstances involved, compensation that may be available includes:

  • Coverage of medical expenses associated with treatment of PTSD;
  • Reimbursement of lost wages, if PTSD prevents the victim from working;
  • Compensation for the pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life PTSD causes;
  • Exemplary or punitive damages, if the at-fault driver was grossly negligent.

Our California Car Accident Attorneys Are Here To Help

For over 40 years, Karlin & Karlin has been helping California car accident victims and their families get the compensation they need to recover in a claim. In cases involving PTSD and car accidents, our experienced legal team can provide the support to ensure your legal rights are protected. To request a free consultation, consider reaching out to our compassionate attorneys at 888-295-0138, or contact our California car accident attorneys online today.

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