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PTSD After a Car Accident in Seattle

Colburn Law

Seeking Recovery for Car-Accident Related PTSD

A car accident can be earth-shattering to those who survive. In a split second, your life can completely change. You no longer feel safe in your car, and might be afraid to drive for weeks or months afterward. You might have suffered serious injuries that resulted in hospital stays, surgeries, months of recovery, and temporary or permanent disability. Perhaps the worst happened, and you lost a loved one. Car accidents are so much more than two bodies of metal colliding – they are emotional and highly traumatic events. As such, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common issue after car accidents in Seattle.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological health problem that some people experience after living through or witnessing a life-threatening event. While it’s perfectly normal to feel scared, nervous, or anxious directly after a car accident, if these feelings and related symptoms last longer than a few months, you could have PTSD. PTSD affects people differently depending on their personalities and the type of traumatic event. It can result in symptoms such as:

  • Reliving the event or having flashbacks
  • Trouble sleeping, insomnia, or nightmares
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the accident
  • Inability to partake in normal daily activities, such as work
  • Difficulty spending time with people you care about
  • Feeling jittery or always on the lookout for car accidents

PTSD often causes feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, despair, detachment, shame, or guilt. It can even cause physical problems such as chronic pain. PTSD after a car accident can make it difficult or impossible to move on with your life, have good relationships with others, and rebuild after a serious crash.

Why Do Car Accidents Cause PTSD?

Studies of PTSD and motor vehicle accidents found that about 9% of crash survivors develop post-traumatic stress disorder. According to at least one clinical study, however, the percentages are much higher – around 25%-33% of survivors showed signs of PTSD at least 30 days after their accidents. An average of 60% of survivors who seek mental-health treatment experience post-accident PTSD. In one study, 27% of car accident survivors with PTSD had additional anxiety disorders, and 15% had phobias of driving.

Car accidents can cause PTSD or prolonged emotional distress because of the potential life threat of these events. Physical injuries, losses of significant others, or just the threat of these things can be enough to trigger a mental reaction that lasts for months. The odds of developing PTSD increase with the severity of the crash. Other factors that can affect the development of this problem are the person’s ability to cope with traumatic events, level of social support, rate of recovery from injuries, and the level of engagement in work and social activities.

Seeking Recovery for Car-Accident Related PTSD

In Washington, the courts permit injured car accident survivors and family members of deceased loved ones to claim non-economic damages such as PTSD. Emotional distress, physical suffering, and mental anguish are recoverable damages in the eyes of the Seattle courts. These damages fall under the general title of “pain and suffering.” If you receive a PTSD diagnosis from a doctor or therapist, your odds of recovering pain and suffering damages increase. PTSD is a compensable damage in the state of Washington.

To seek recovery for your psychological harms and related costs, such as the cost of therapy sessions, in a car accident claim, retain an experienced attorney. A lawyer can help gather evidence and present a strong case as to why you deserve compensation for car-accident related PTSD.