PTSD After Car Accident | Staver
Car Accidents

PTSD After Car Accidents in Chicago

The physical injuries caused by a car crash can be devastating, but invisible wounds can also exacerbate them. The mental anguish and stress caused by a car crash are often underestimated. There can be dire consequences if they’re ignored.

Many crash victims may not consider seeking treatment for their mental pain after a crash because they aren’t sure who would pay for it. However, under Illinois law, crash victims can recover damages for mental anguish.

An experienced Chicago car accident attorney on the Staver Accident Injury Lawyer, P.C., team can help you navigate the claims process as you recover physically and mentally after a car crash.

Call (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Mental anguish is defined in many ways. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one form. This disorder is commonly associated with military service. However, anyone who has lived through or witnessed an upsetting event could experience PTSD. A gruesome car crash is one such experience.

While some people’s brains can return to a normal state after a disturbing experience, others won’t. People who have PTSD will live in a constant state of “fight or flight.” Some triggers could set off anxiety, seemingly irrational behavior, or cause a complete shutdown.

Can Car Crashes Cause PTSD?

Yes. Car crashes can be highly traumatizing. It doesn’t matter if the crash was egregious, like one with a large commercial vehicle, or a mild fender-bender, like a rear-end collision. Anything that might stress the driver or disrupt their thinking could influence their everyday lives.

Without treatment, these symptoms could worsen, and their life could get even more out of control.

What Are PTSD Symptoms?

Mental anguish and PTSD might be considered “invisible” injuries, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs that they’re present.

  • Avoidance — going out of their way to stay away from similar circumstances to the car crash. Some people with PTSD will take longer routes to avoid the crash area. In extreme cases, some people may avoid riding in cars altogether.
  • Hyper-Vigilance — paying extra attention to other vehicles or traffic patterns. Some people with PTSD will also pay more attention to every aspect of their life, needing to keep track of anything that could hurt them or cause another accident. This doesn’t always pertain to driving.
  • Depression — after a car accident, survivors may feel empty, sad, hopeless, or lose interest in everyday activities. These are signs of depression. Victims could feel these symptoms, along with other PTSD symptoms.
  • Flashbacks — reliving the traumatic event as if they’ve returned to the scene. Sights, smells, or sounds can trigger flashbacks. Sometimes, there aren’t any external stimuli before these episodes. If these happen while the survivor drives, it could lead to another accident.
  • Isolation — reducing contact with loved ones or friends. People with PTSD often pull away from people to try and keep the burden of surviving the crash off others.
  • Difficulty with Sleep — difficulty going to sleep or sleeping too much. Survivors could see their sleep affected in various ways. Some sleep more to avoid triggering interactions. Others may have trouble sleeping because they experience nightmares or dreams about the crash.
  • Difficulty Concentrating — difficulty focusing on everyday life. People with PTSD might have trouble paying attention to work tasks, daily chores, or even hobbies like before the accident.
  • Suicidal Thoughts — considering suicide. Traumatic event survivors might consider ending their life to relieve their pain or remove a burden from their friends or family. They may not think rationally after a car crash, so they may not understand this is not the ideal option.

Crash survivors could be experiencing other PTSD symptoms. A medical professional should assess survivors to make a diagnosis, which could be covered in your insurance claim.

Does PTSD Affect Children?

Children can be affected by car accidents like adults, but they process trauma slightly differently. They may not understand what happened, but addressing symptoms in children is critical so their development isn’t upset.

Children with PTSD could exhibit similar symptoms, like sleep problems, irritability, or feeling helpless. Sometimes children can relive traumatic incidents by thinking about them or playing them out. These symptoms may resemble attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Taking them to a medical professional can help identify the disorder and direct treatment.

PTSD Treatments after a Car Accident

Some cases of PTSD are resolved in time without specific treatments. Symptoms can decrease over time or be treated by visiting and talking with friends, family, or other communities. However, anyone experiencing PTSD should discuss their symptoms or experience with a doctor or medical professional to explore recovery methods.

  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy — this method allows a therapist to bring up reminders or triggers of the car crash to the victim in a controlled manner. A victim experiencing PTSD often has bursts of uncontrollable reactions or feelings when the crash is mentioned. PET allows the victim to slowly accept the emotional aspect of the crash and control other outbursts.
  • Animal Therapy — therapy animals have risen in popularity recently. These animals can help with cortisol levels, blood pressure, feelings of loneliness, and moods in general. Therapy animals provide support to people with PTSD.
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy — therapists help crash victims identify their thoughts and feelings caused by PTSD. These include thoughts of blame, survivor’s guilt, or even karma. A therapist can guide someone with PTSD into reframing those thoughts into positive ones or eliminating them.
  • Medication — No amount of drugs can cure post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it can provide stability for those suffering from it. The right prescriptions can help crash victims experience fewer symptoms and be a starting point for recovery.

A medical professional can identify and prescribe possible treatment methods after your car crash. PTSD is not something you need to face alone, especially after someone else’s reckless behavior caused the crash that hurt you. Attorney Jared Staver and his team can help you pursue compensation to cover your treatment.

How Do You Pursue PTSD Damages after a Car Accident?

Under Illinois personal injury law, you’re entitled to compensation for damages you experience in a car crash. You can pursue economic (out-of-pocket) expenses or non-economic losses.

Non-economic losses aren’t always easy to calculate. They’re conceptual. These losses are the ones you’ve suffered because of the crash. PTSD is often included in mental anguish after a crash. Someone with PTSD will likely lose enjoyment in some of their hobbies or no longer interact with loved ones. You can include these losses in your claim when you file against the person who caused the crash.

How Can a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

It can be difficult to calculate losses after a car crash, especially when weighing something as nebulous as your experience dealing with PTSD. Each case is unique, and a knowledgeable Chicago car accident attorney can assist you in finding the total of your losses. You’ll need to consider your out-of-pocket expenses and what you lost because of the crash.

If you’re experiencing PTSD because of your accident, the at-fault party could be responsible for paying for them. Working with an attorney is crucial because PTSD symptoms may not be readily apparent. Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations, and you’re better off filing a claim sooner rather than later. Your attorney can discuss how the crash impacted you financially, physically, and emotionally. They can investigate your crash, find who’s at fault, and work on bringing a case against them. If their insurance company doesn’t agree to a settlement to cover your losses, you need an attorney ready to go to court for your best interest.

Call a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Now

The Chicago car accident attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., are prepared to hear your case and fight for recovery. We have the knowledge and experience to help you bring a claim against the driver responsible for the crash that hurt you.

We’ve helped clients in similar situations recover millions, and we’re ready to review your case and help you secure your future. PTSD is a severe condition; if someone’s negligence hurt you, we understand you need help.

Call (312) 236-2900 or use our online form for a free consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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