A Connecticut motor vehicle accident, even one that does not result in serious physical injuries, can be distressing for everyone involved. Various kinds of emotional and psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are common. While this type of condition is sometimes overlooked, it still significantly impacts a person’s health and well-being.
Often, doctors can quickly diagnose and treat physical injuries sustained in car accidents. However, sometimes the psychological effects of a collision are less immediately apparent and may take much longer to diagnose. It is common for PTSD to develop in the weeks and months following the trauma.
Have you or someone you love been struggling with PTSD after a Connecticut car accident? If so, you could be entitled to recover financial compensation you did not know you were eligible for. At Gould Injury Law, our compassionate car accident lawyers will act fast to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
We pride ourselves on getting quick results for our clients. Schedule a free case review with Gould Injury Law today. Call us 24/7 at 888-WIN-FAST.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered by seeing or being involved in a terrifying event. According to the American Psychological Association, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in the United States.
After a car accident or other traumatic experience, it is common for people to have a difficult time adjusting or coping, but most recover in the weeks and months afterward. On the other hand, if symptoms continue to get worse as time passes, a person may have PTSD.
Common Symptoms of PTSD After a Motor Vehicle Accident
For some car accident victims, PTSD will begin to manifest a few weeks after the crash. However, for others, symptoms may not develop until a year or more after the incident. These are different for each victim of PTSD and may include the following.
Some victims begin to avoid anything that reminds them of the car accident, fearing that it could trigger a nightmare or a panic attack.
After an accident, PTSD victims may avoid:
- Seeing passengers they were traveling with at the time of the accident
- Driving or even riding in a car
- Visiting the scene of the accident
- Thinking about the accident
PTSD victims often face unwanted or intrusive thoughts related to the accident. These may come in the form of flashbacks or nightmares and be deeply distressing.
Symptoms of intrusive thoughts may include:
- Distressing memories of the car accident
- Reliving the car accident over and over again (flashbacks)
- Having disturbing dreams or nightmares
- Reacting emotionally or physically to something that reminds them of the car accident
Doctors have found that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are effective in helping patients change irrationally negative thought patterns.
Changes in thoughts and behavior
Victims of car accidents suffering from PTSD may experience one or more of the following changes in thinking and behavior:
- Anxiety and depression
- Negative thoughts
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships with family and friends
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Failure to remember certain aspects of the accident
- Difficulty concentrating
Medical treatments to help relieve these symptoms may include psychotherapy and/or prescription antidepressant medications.
A PTSD victim may become hypersensitive or touchy to various events and situations.
- Being easily irritated or angry
- Experiencing overwhelming guilt or shame
- Displaying self-destructive behaviors (over-drinking, driving too fast, etc.)
- Reacting intensely to ordinary situations
- Feeling the need to be on guard for danger
A therapist can assess these feelings and help victims discern whether they are a sign of PTSD or not. If the symptoms are a result of the car accident, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication.
Ways to Cope With PTSD Following a Connecticut Motor Vehicle Accident
After a car accident, people may be in denial that they have PTSD or another mental health illness. This can inhibit their ability to move forward and heal. If you suspect that you may be experiencing post-traumatic stress following the accident, it is recommended to seek help from a medical professional.
Beyond medical care, ways to cope with PTSD from a car accident could include:
- Speaking to loved ones openly about your feelings
- Giving yourself time to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally
- Exercising (as your physical injuries allow)
- Seeking support from trauma and support groups online or in your local area
- Taking driving lessons to help rebuild confidence
- Engaging in hobbies enjoyed before the accident
Signs and Symptoms That a Child Has PTSD After a Car Accident
While motor vehicle accidents are upsetting to anyone, they can be especially traumatic for children. In addition to any physical injuries sustained, they may be emotionally and psychologically affected. A child may have a difficult time understanding what has happened, not to mention how to cope with the fear and pain resulting from the crash.
The trauma from a car accident may be so great that the child is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. As with adults, the symptoms of PTSD can come in different forms. It is important for parents to recognize the signs of PTSD early on so they can get their children the medical help they need.
Symptoms of PTSD can vary depending on age, maturity, gender, and other factors. The following are some trauma signs for parents to be alert to, listed by age.
Among ages 5 or below
Young children, ages 5 or below, may display the following signs of post-traumatic stress:
- Separation anxiety
- Fear of darkness
- Thumb sucking
At elementary school age
The following PTSD symptoms may demonstrate in children around ages 6 to 11 years old:
- Changes in social behaviors
- Outbursts of anger
- Inability to focus
- Disruptive behavior
As a pre-teen or teenager
Signs that a child between 12 and 17 years of age may be experiencing PTSD include:
- Problems at school (fights with their peers, arguing with teachers, poor grades, etc.)
- Taking extreme risks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Physical illnesses brought on by stress
How to Support a Child With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
When children experience PTSD, it is important for parents or guardians to provide them with the pediatric treatment and mental health care needed. Receiving help as soon as post-traumatic symptoms begin can help prevent the child from developing greater mental health issues as he or she matures.
In addition to ensuring the child gets the professional medical care he or she requires, parents can also assist with recovery.
The following are some suggestions for parents and caregivers to keep in mind to help children with post-traumatic stress disorder:
- Try to get the children back into their regular routine as soon as possible after the car accident
- Assure the children that they are safe now and that the accident was not their fault
- Encourage them to express any feelings and concerns that they have
- Answer any questions they have about the accident in a calm manner, sticking to the facts
- Spend time with close family and friends that the child is comfortable around
- Take care of yourself; you cannot help your child through the trauma if you do not receive the care that you need
- Be careful not to dwell on negatives or “what ifs”
- Do not give the children more information than they can handle
- Remember that a child may cope with the trauma of a car accident differently from you or other members of the family
The Challenges of Recovering Compensation for PTSD After a Connecticut Car Accident
If you are suffering from PTSD as a result of the trauma of being involved in a car accident, it is possible to file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party for damages. Unfortunately, these types of claims are not easy to win. For this reason, it is important to have a skilled and fast-acting Connecticut car accident attorney from Gould Injury Law on your side.
Recovering compensation for PTSD following a car accident can be difficult because:
- Unlike physical injuries that have visible effects on a victim, PTSD is an emotional and mental disorder, making it difficult to convey its impact and severity
- The victim needs to provide proof of being professionally diagnosed with PTSD and show that the car accident directly contributed to or caused the condition
- It can be difficult to determine the value of the claim since the debilitating effects of PTSD are not easy to quantify
What is Needed for a Car Accident PTSD Claim to Be Successful?
At Gould Injury Law, our car accident lawyers know what is needed to build a successful PTSD claim. After taking on your case, we will act fast to investigate your case, file all necessary paperwork, and build a solid case on your behalf.
Consider the following recommendations for your PTSD car accident claim to be successful:
- Hire a personal injury lawyer who has the experience, knowledge, and resources needed to build a solid case on the basis of your PTSD
- Use testimony from doctors, licensed therapists, and other experts to corroborate your PTSD diagnosis and testify that your car accident directly contributed to your PTSD
- Consult with someone who can quantify the damages associated with your PTSD and accurately calculate the value of your claim or lawsuit
Compensation Available to Victims of Car Accidents in Connecticut
In Connecticut, you can seek compensation for damages if you were a victim of someone else’s negligence. The personal injury attorneys of Gould Injury Law have helped car accident victims throughout the state collect compensation for their injuries.
Our legal team understands how important financial compensation is after a motor vehicle accident, and we act quickly to ensure that our clients receive a just and fair payout as fast as possible.
Economic damages you could get
Compensation for victims of motor vehicle accidents commonly helps cover:
- Medical expenses: Compensation for ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and more
- Lost wages: If the injuries sustained in the car accident prevent you from returning to work, you could be compensated for your loss of income
- Property damage: This compensates for the expense of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it was damaged in the accident
Non-economic damages you could get
In order to recover non-economic damages for PTSD, your lawyer will need to show a direct correlation between your PTSD and the car crash. Our law firm has worked with psychiatrists and psychologists throughout Connecticut to provide expert testimony to link a car accident to the PTSD our clients face.
Recoverable non-economic damages for post-traumatic stress disorder may fall under one of the following categories.
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for the pain, discomfort, anguish, and emotional trauma caused by an injury
- Emotional distress: These damages are designed to compensate for sleep loss, anxiety, fear, and other psychological impacts your injury has had on your daily life
- Mental anguish: This is compensation for anxiety, depression, grief, hopelessness, fright, and other psychological effects suffered as a result of a trauma
Schedule a Fast, Free Consultation With a Car Accident Attorney Today
You shouldn’t blame yourself for suffering physical injuries, PTSD, or disability. You are under distress and may also be coping with the burdens of accumulating medical bills and being unable to return to work. But you can find hope!
The compassionate legal team at Gould Injury Law is committed to helping Connecticut crash victims recover compensation for the physical and emotional effects the car accident has had on their lives. Our lawyers will make the claims process as fast, stress-free, and easy as possible for you.
We pride ourselves on being “The Fast Firm.” This is the reputation we have earned since our personal injury lawyers will do everything possible to accelerate your claim and get you better, faster results.
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD or other injuries following a car accident in Connecticut, do not hesitate to seek legal help today. Schedule your free case review with a member of our experienced and compassionate legal team today. Call us at 888-WIN-FAST, click to start a live chat, or fill out the online evaluation form.