Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from Motor Vehicle Collisions
As a Plaintiff’s personal injury attorney, I have the opportunity to meet with police officers who regularly investigate all kinds of motor vehicle collisions. In one such meeting, I recall an officer stating that collisions are often one of the most traumatic experiences people go through in their lifetime. As an expert in accident reconstruction, this officer explained that considering the speed and weight of the vehicles, the force of an impact can be severe to the human body. The often violent and sudden force can be emotionally shocking and frightening. Knowing this, it is no surprise that many victims of motor vehicle collisions experience mental and emotional trauma as well.
My experience with countless clients is consistent with the officer’s insights. After a truck sideswiped his vehicle on I-95, causing him to lose control of his vehicle, one client refused to drive on I-95 to his workplace anymore. This required him to take alternate routes, adding time and expense to his travels. Spouses of individuals who were in accidents frequently tell me that their husband or wife is extremely anxious in vehicles, causing stress for the entire family. A mother who had her children in her car when they were hit had nightmares for years about her children dying in the accident. Flashbacks of the accident itself, nightmares, and stress and anxiety are all common results of collisions.
These symptoms are representative of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition caused by experiencing a traumatic event. While many people associate this condition with extreme events such as war, medical professionals often see individuals who have been in car accidents develop PTSD. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, symptoms of PTSD can include re-experiencing the event, avoiding people or places that remind the person of the event, and negative changes in mood or thinking.
We encourage clients to speak with their doctors, who can refer them to appropriate mental health specialists to diagnose and treat these complex injuries. Mental health therapies including cognitive processing therapy, eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing therapy have proven beneficial for recovery.
The attorneys at Dalton & Associates, P.A. have assisted many clients with PTSD and other non-physical injuries related to motor vehicle accidents. We understand the challenges that these injuries add to clients’ lives. With compassion and understanding, our firm aggressively represents our clients in obtaining just compensation, while also lending support and guidance on their road to recovery.
 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5); https://www.jsonline.com/story/sponsor-story/froedtert/2017/08/16/life-after-car-crash-could-you-experiencing-ptsd/104585556/.