Can Car Accident Victims Be Diagnosed With PTSD?

woman next to crashed carAn auto accident can be a violent and traumatic event that can cause those involved to suffer posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the accident.

PTSD is a terrifying psychological disorder that can cause a variety of emotional and psychological issues, such as reliving a traumatic experience. These issues can hurt your ability to perform daily routines or go to work.

If you or someone you love has suffered PTSD after an auto accident caused by another’s negligence, our attorneys are ready to help. The Fort Worth personal injury attorneys of Anderson & Cummings are available to assist you through the legal process, and answer any questions you may have about compensation for PTSD.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD after a Car Accident?

It can take days or weeks for an auto accident victim to develop symptoms associated with PTSD, such as:

Re-Living the Auto Accident

It is common for victims who suffer from PTSD to relive the events of the accident. This can include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Visual and auditory memories
  • Frequently thinking about the auto accident

These issues may result in sleep disorders and anxiety that prevents the victim from living a productive and normal life.

Emotional Effects

A person suffering from PTSD may become emotionally numb after an accident and can experience effects such as:

  • Avoiding the location of the auto accident
  • Having difficulty remembering events of the auto accident, such as which direction he or she was driving when the collision occurred
  • Becoming estranged from loved ones or people he or she associated with prior to the auto accident
  • Feeling despair after the auto accident that may cause worry about an impending tragedy

Psychological Effects

An auto accident victim who suffers from PTSD may also experience hyper-arousal effects.These effects might make the victim feel overly anxious during events that may not have caused such a response prior to the accident. He or she may experience:

  • Increased heart rate
  • “Butterflies” in his or her stomach
  • Irregular or heavy breathing patterns
  • Profuse sweating
  • Irritability
  • Sudden outbursts of anger or other strong emotions

Personality Changes

A person suffering from PTSD may experience changes in his or her mood or personality. This can include mood swings that causes the victim to view people in a different way prior than he or she did before the accident.

PTSD victims may also experience irrational fears or thoughts that may cause them to become fearful of operating or riding in a vehicle.

Who Can Develop PTSD After a Car Accident?

While PTSD may affect anyone involved in a violently traumatic event, certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing this condition.

Characteristics Prior to the Accident

If the victim experienced emotional or psychological difficulties before the accident, they may be more likely to develop PTSD. These characteristics include:

  • Difficulty coping with trauma
  • Pre-existing mental health issues
  • Lack of social support

Accident Details

If the victim experienced any of the following during the accident, he or she could have a higher risk of developing PTSD:

  • Physical injuries
  • The victim felt his or her life was in danger during the accident
  • The victim felt that he or she was involved in a fatal collision
  • The victim witnessed the death of a loved one, passenger, pedestrian or other motorist who was involved in the accident

Variables Following the Accident

The victim’s experiences following the accident may also contribute to PTSD’s development, such as:

  • How quickly or slowly he or she recovers from the physical injuries sustained
  • The level of social support from family and friends after the accident
  • The victim’s ability to re-engage at work and social events after the accident

How Can I Be Compensated for PTSD after a Car Accident?

PTSD is a serious mental health condition that can require ongoing treatment, including counseling and medication. It may also affect the victim’s ability to work and earn a living.

If the accident was caused by negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for these and other damages.

A skilled personal injury lawyer who helps you file a suit after suffering PTSD may allow you to collect compensation for:

  • Medical bills related to your treatment
  • Lost wages if you were unable to work
  • Pain and suffering caused by your PTSD diagnosis

Our car accident attorneys will aid you in building a case for compensation for car accident PTSD. We will seek evidence to tie your diagnosis to the accident events and demonstrate how the diagnosis impacts your daily life.

Contact Our Attorneys Today

The Fort Worth personal injury attorneys at Anderson & Cummings are ready to help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve after suffering PTSD that resulted from a car accident.

If you were severely affected by a negligent driver, schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation now. We only accept cases on contingency, which means you only pay legal fees if we recover compensation for your claim.

Call (817) 920-9000 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form now.

*These are actual dollar amounts paid to clients after the deduction of attorney fees and expenses.


Verdict & Settlement

Verdict and settlement involving sexual abuse of 11 children by their pastor.



Bad faith insurance settlement involving failure to defend and failure to settle claim.



Brain injury caused by electrocution.