Health & Wellness

PTSD and Car Accidents: What you need to Know

After facing a horrific occurrence, people may experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) — a serious mental health disorder. While most commonly associated with combat veterans, PTSD can also be triggered by other traumatic events, such as car accidents. Car accidents are a leading cause of PTSD, affecting millions yearly. If you or a loved one has experienced a car collision and are struggling with PTSD, it’s essential to understand what you need to know about this condition and how it may impact your life. In this article, we will explore the connection between PTSD and car accidents, the signs of PTSD, and the legal options available to those who have suffered from a car collision-related PTSD.

The Connection between PTSD and Car Accidents

Car accidents can result in physical injuries, emotional distress, and psychological trauma. The sudden impact, the fear of injury or death, witnessing severe injuries, or losing a loved one can all trigger PTSD. PTSD is a mental health condition when the brain cannot process and cope with the traumatic event, leading to long-term psychological and emotional distress. In the context of car accidents, the high-speed collisions, the noise, the chaos, and the unexpectedness of the event can all contribute to the development of PTSD.

Signs of PTSD

PTSD can manifest in various ways and may not immediately be apparent after a car collision. It can take days, weeks, or even months for symptoms to arise. The signs of PTSD can be grouped into the following:

  • Re-experiencing: This category includes symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts related to the car accident. The person may feel like they are reliving the traumatic event, even in a safe environment.
  • Avoidance: Those with PTSD may avoid anything that reminds them of the car accident, such as driving or being in a car, discussing the accident, or going to the location where the accident occurred. They may also avoid discussing their feelings or emotions related to the event.
  • Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood: PTSD can change a person’s thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. This may include feeling detached from loved ones, experiencing a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, feeling guilty or blaming themselves for the accident, having difficulty remembering details of the event, or experiencing an adverse change in their mood, such as depression or irritability.
  • Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions: PTSD can also impact a person’s physical and emotional reactions. This may include being easily startled, having difficulty sleeping, experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches, or engaging in reckless behavior, such as excessive drinking or drug use, to cope with the distress.

Legal Options for Car Accident-Related PTSD

If you are experiencing PTSD due to a car collision, knowing you have legal options is essential. Seeking help from a reputable Chicago personal injury law firm can provide you with guidance and support in navigating the legal process. Here are some of the legal options that may be available to you:

  • Personal Injury Claim: This may allow you to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and others related to your car accident-related PTSD.
  • Workers’ Compensation Claim: This can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation services related to your car accident-related PTSD.
  • Disability Benefits: If your PTSD from the car accident has left you with a long-term disability that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits can provide financial support to help cover your living expenses and medical costs.


Car accidents can have a lasting impact on a person’s mental health, with PTSD being a common condition that can develop after such traumatic events. It’s crucial to recognize the signs of PTSD and seek help if you or a loved one is struggling. Additionally, understanding your legal options is vital if you suffer from car accident-related PTSD.


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