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PTSD After a Motorcycle Accident

Colburn Law

If you were recently in a motorcycle accident, your physical recovery is likely at the forefront of your mind. However, some motorcycle accident victims continue to experience the circumstances of the accident long after the physical injuries heal. In some cases, motorcycle accident victims can even develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

In fact, nearly a quarter of all people experience some degree of PTSD after a motorcycle accident. What is PTSD? Is PTSD a condition for which you can claim damages in a personal injury lawsuit?

speeding motorcycle

What Is PTSD?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is a disorder found in people who have experienced a traumatic situation. First termed “shell shock” by soldiers returning from World War I, PTSD has since expanded to encompass the experience of anyone who suffers from a range of symptoms after suffering or witnessing a traumatic event. In fact, as many as one in every eleven people will receive a PTSD diagnosis during their lifetime.

Symptoms of PTSD include:

    • Constant arousal. Those who have PTSD experience the feeling of being constantly on edge, waiting for danger to arrive. Constant arousal of the nervous system can lead to problems concentrating, insomnia, hyper-reactivity, and angry outbursts.
    • Intrusive thoughts. PTSD patients often experience thoughts and feelings that remind them of the original traumatic event. These thoughts interfere with the activities of daily living. Intrusive thoughts can take the form of nightmares, daydreams or flashbacks.
    • Negative thoughts and feelings. The original traumatic event and the associated struggles can lead to negative thoughts and feelings, such as fear, shame, and anger. In addition, the person living with PTSD often experiences lack of interest in activities that were formerly enjoyable.
  • Avoiding trauma. People who suffer PTSD often avoid reminders of the event that caused it. Some avoid exposure to the circumstances that led to the event, while others refuse to talk about or even think about the event.

Can You Get PTSD From a Motorcycle Accident?

Many people experience PTSD after motor vehicle accidents, and motorcycle accidents are no different. In fact, accidents are the number one cause of PTSD in the non-military population. Usually, symptoms will appear within three to six months after the accident, though there is no official time limit for developing PTSD; overall, symptoms must last over one month for an official PTSD diagnosis.

If you are experiencing recurrent intrusive thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, or continued anxiety as the result of a motorcycle accident, you may have PTSD. It is important that you discuss your symptoms with a mental health professional and receive an official diagnosis. Then, you and your physician can discuss possible methods of treatment as well as coping skills designed to help you manage your symptoms.

Can You Sue for PTSD From a Motorcycle Accident?

PTSD is among the damages you can claim as the result of an accident. PTSD can change your life in multiple ways, including lessened enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and emotional distress. In addition, PTSD can take a financial toll, leading to missed wages and reduced potential for future income.

However, it is often difficult to link PTSD to a single traumatic source. It is important to establish a PTSD diagnosis from your physician before attempting to claim damages from PTSD, which often complicates the litigation process since PTSD symptoms may not appear for months after the accident. Speak with a Seattle personal injury attorney about your situation and provide all necessary medical documentation – it is difficult but not impossible to receive compensation for PTSD-related damages, and an attorney can help you establish your case.