Being involved in an automobile accident can be a traumatic event for an individual, especially those who also sustain serious injury. When one thinks of the injuries that someone incurs as a result of an accident, PTSD is not usually at the top of their minds. However, PTSD from an automobile accident is a very real injury that many people suffer from and experience. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary or dangerous event.” The symptoms of PTSD include not only having flashbacks of the traumatic injury – whether that be by reliving the trauma over and over again or experiencing a racing heart when thinking about the incident, but also having bad dreams or frightening thoughts about the same. If one experiences these symptoms it can seriously impact that person’s everyday routine and the ability to move forward with living a normal life after the trauma is in the past.
For example, injured motorists who experience PTSD may avoid driving the same route they took on the day of the accident or may opt to take a longer or less efficient route simply to avoid the accident scene. Injured motorists may also be easily startled or feel tense or stressed when they see a vehicle that resembles the one that caused the accident. Moreover, some injured motorists may experience PTSD so severely that they refuse to drive a vehicle.
While anyone can experience PTSD, there are several factors that increase the risk of PTSD:
1. Having experienced another traumatic event or events in the past;
2. Having a lack of support after the traumatic event is experienced;
3. Genetic factors; and
4. Lack of treatment when the symptoms of PTSD have become apparent.
If you are represented by an attorney in regard to an accident or some other traumatic event that you have experienced, you may feel nervous or embarrassed about telling them or explaining to them the post-traumatic stress you are dealing with. However, this type of injury is very real and should be made known to your attorney during your representation so that this injury can be fully evaluated.