How Car Accidents Cause PTSD

PTSDTo most people, PTSD is closely associated with soldiers, violent crime victims, or survivors of war or terrible accidents. But did you know that car accidents can also leave people with life-changing PTSD?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a severe anxiety disorder. It causes people to suffer from invasive memories of extremely stressful, violent, shocking, or stress-inducing situations. PTSD affects a wide variety of people, ranging from sexual assault survivors to active-duty police personnel. When someone suffers from PTSD, the most obvious symptom is flashbacks to the traumatic event.

Other symptoms include:

  • Nightmares
  • Feelings of detachment or hopelessness
  • Depression
  • Irritability or anger
  • Feelings of guilt, often stemming from the person feeling responsible for the traumatic incident
  • Hypervigilance, or being aware of any possible dangers or triggers
  • Hypersensitivity, including an increased heart rate, exaggerated startle reflex, or an increase in blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches

Like other mental illnesses, PTSD has a dramatic effect on a person’s daily life. For many people, it affects school or work, appetite and weight, sex, and marriage, family, or intrapersonal relationships. When someone develops PTSD after a car accident, their fear of driving may hinder their ability to get to work or do typical errands.

PTSD and Car Accidents

Since not all car accidents are serious, many people don’t think of car crashes as a cause. However, almost 45% of people involved in car accidents develop some level of PTSD. Fatal accidents in particular are the most likely cause, as survivors may be left with serious injuries, memories of seeing other people’s injuries, or even feelings of guilt about surviving the accident when others did not. But any kind of car accident, even a minor fender-bender, can cause trauma. Car accidents often involve bloody injuries and vehicle damage. In addition, even angry reactions from the others involved can cause stress. All of these things cause trauma and unpleasant memories, leading to a PTSD diagnoses. A car accident can cause a driver to lose faith in their own driving abilities, which can contribute to serious anxiety.

When someone suffers from a mental disorder after a car accident, it can be difficult for them to win compensation for their mental injuries. Since it is not a physical injury, it may be hard to convince others of their suffering. Seeking the assistance of a skilled attorney is often helpful. Like a physical injury, PTSD is also devastating. Everyone deserves to right to seek compensation for their suffering.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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