Vehicle collisions are an unquestionably traumatic experience, typically activating the “fight or flight” sensation and causing an extreme negative emotional response. Thankfully, for many survivors, those feelings fade away in the weeks after a collision. For other car accident victims, the sense of fear and anger instead gets worse as time goes on. If post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) interferes with your ability to enjoy life in the same way you did before the accident, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Common Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Crash

Not all wounds are visible to the naked eye, and they don’t always heal on their own. That’s why accident victims need a lawyer to negotiate with insurance companies and potentially present your case in a personal injury lawsuit. A car accident attorney’s job is to make sure your compensation accurately covers everything you are truly owed after Woman With PTSD Talking to Her Doctor | Virginia Car Accident Lawyerbeing hit by an at-fault driver.

Non-economic damages covering things like physical pain, emotional trauma, and psychological disorders such as PTSD may be a part of your overall financial recovery. Post-traumatic stress disorder is significantly different from simply having negative thoughts about the crash, however.

It’s vitally important to talk to your doctor and seek help if you are experiencing potential PTSD symptoms like:

  • Anxiety
  • Emotional numbness
  • Extreme fear of driving or riding in a vehicle
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of detachment from friends, family, and spouses
  • Flashbacks
  • Intrusive thoughts about car accidents
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in formerly important activities
  • Memory loss, specifically about the car crash itself
  • Mood changes
  • Nightmares, which are often recurring and may prevent sleep
  • Overwhelming emotional response to anything that brings up memories of the crash
  • Panic attacks
  • Physical effects like stomach pain or headaches

How Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Impacts a Virginia Car Accident Claim

When these symptoms don’t ever get better on their own, that may indicate you have PTSD from the crash. Receiving an official diagnosis and starting a paper trail on how the disorder affects your daily routine is critical to your recovery. PTSD and its effects are much less visible and obvious than broken bones or other physical injuries sustained in a crash. That hurdle can be overcome with an experienced legal advocate by your side to properly present details about your injury.

Your attorney can utilize evidence such as medical records or testimony from medical professionals to show why your PTSD should be considered in any financial recovery. If it has significantly impacted your life, it should be part of any settlement or judgement awarded to you after a crash.

Emotional and psychiatric issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression are only one factor to consider when pursuing compensation after a car crash, however. There are other economic costs that are simpler to calculate, like your hourly wage if you had to take time off work following the collision. With the help of a qualified car accident lawyer, you may be able to also recover damages covering:

  • Bills for medical expenses stemming from the injury, such as your ER visit, surgery, time spent in the hospital, etc.
  • Estimation of lost earning potential if you are permanently disabled after the crash
  • Income lost during time spent away from work under doctor’s orders
  • Out-of-pocket costs while seeking treatment
  • Property damage
  • Therapy for PTSD
  • Wrongful death if a loved one died in the car accident


Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims
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