Car accidents are often associated with brain injuries, broken bones, and paralysis, but the emotional trauma of a serious collision can be just as arduous as the physical wounds. Motor vehicle wrecks are a leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the United States. In fact, according to the American Family Physician, nearly 9 percent of people involved in car wrecks develop symptoms of PTSD.
PTSD can be serious and cause extreme emotional distress for some people, preventing them from engaging in activities they enjoy. It could also be disabling, keeping them out of work under some circumstances.
Common Symptoms and Effective Treatments for PTSD
Each case of PTSD is unique, and the symptoms can vary significantly from one accident victim to the next. The effects of PTSD can be both psychological and physical.
It is common for people with PTSD to relive the traumatic event through flashbacks and nightmares. Some people try to avoid experiences and people that remind them of the traumatic event. Depression and anxiety are also common symptoms of PTSD.
Sometimes, accident victims may feel agitated, irritable, or have general anxiety but not realize these are symptoms of PTSD. Other possible signs include:
- Self-destructive behavior
- Social isolation and loneliness
- Fear and mistrust
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Insomnia or nightmares
Treating PTSD in Traffic Accident Survivors
According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for PTSD usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Depending on the individual’s symptoms and other details of their history and condition, the therapist is likely to select one or several of these five options and build a treatment plan that is unique to that person.
- Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy can help people with PTSD overcome irrational fears by allowing them to confront the cause of their disorder in a controlled setting.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is intended to help patients change unreasonable or harmful ways of thinking after experiencing a traumatic event.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This therapy is a specialized treatment that uses eye movements to help patients process trauma and alter how their brain reacts to the memories of the trauma.
- Anti-anxiety medications. Anti-anxiety medications can reduce the stress that often comes with PTSD; however, these are not ideal for long-term use because there is a high potential for addiction.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil), are antidepressants that can reduce anxiety and depression.
In some cases, patients may also receive prescriptions to help them sleep. Insomnia and nightmares are very common among accident survivors, even those without a PTSD diagnosis.
If you believe you have PTSD symptoms or are experiencing other emotional distress after your car accident in Louisiana, you should speak with a mental health practitioner as soon as possible. Be sure to tell them about your collision and how it affects your everyday life.
Paying for Your Treatment and Care After a PTSD Diagnosis
Although treatments for PTSD have come a long way over recent years, they can cost a veritable fortune. This treatment also stretches out for weeks or months in most cases. Additional office visits and sessions mean more doctor’s bills. Still, you may be able to avoid footing this bill if you can show your diagnosis stems from the crash.
If your accident occurred because of a negligent driver, they may be legally responsible for your medical care and related expenses. You may be able to file a personal injury claim or civil lawsuit to recover compensation to pay your therapist. However, proving that you have PTSD and need treatment will require extensive evidence. This is where our injury attorney can help.
Our lawyer could gather evidence in your case that includes:
- The police accident report
- Eyewitness accounts of the accident
- Photos/video of the accident
- Accident reconstruction
- Your relevant medical records
- Expert medical opinions
- Bills, receipts, and other documentation of your damages
In general, proving a mental health condition such as PTSD is more difficult than recovering money for physical injuries. However, it is not impossible. We can talk with you more about your accident and injuries today for a free consultation. We can explain your rights and how we would approach your case.
You may want to pursue your claim or lawsuit promptly as soon as you know you want to take action after your accident. You generally only have one year to begin a civil lawsuit under CC Art. 3492.
Speak with a Laborde Early Injury Lawyers Team Member for Free
Our lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury lawyers in Louisiana may be able to help you gather evidence to prove your damages in your car accident, including the money you spent for PTSD treatment. In addition to your medical care costs, recoverable compensation may include lost income and non-economic damages.
If you or someone you love has post-traumatic stress disorder after a collision with a negligent driver, call us today at (337) 777-7777 to discuss your case for free. We have helped our clients recover more than $200 million in cash settlements and verdicts.