Studies Show Car Accidents Can Lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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San Jose, CA car accident injury lawyer PTSDMore than three million injuries occur each year in the United States as a result of motor vehicle accidents. In fact, this is one of the most common traumas Americans experience. From physical injuries such as broken bones to emotional concerns, car accidents make a significant impact on the lives of everyone involved. New research indicates that the effects are further reaching than we ever anticipated. Recent studies show that victims of vehicular accidents have a high risk of developing accident-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

An Explanation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

During an accident, or any other frightening event, our bodies naturally have a fight-or-flight response to the situation. This acute stress response is what creates sweaty palms, a racing heart, and an increased respiratory rate. The “shaking” feeling that comes after a car accident is also associated with your fight-or-flight stress response. 

Everyone experiences and recovers from each situation differently. Although the reaction may continue for days and weeks following an accident, eventually the stress usually subsides, and you return to your normal state of being. However, people who suffer from PTSD experience the same reactions as someone who is stressed, threatened, or otherwise frightened, even when there is no danger.

How Many People Experience Accident-Related PTSD?

According to the National Center for PTSD, many individuals involved in severe car accidents do not develop long-term psychological effects requiring medical intervention. However, a significant portion of accident victims suffer from ongoing mental health problems. The most common diagnoses include PTSD, Major Depression, and Anxiety Disorders. Between 14% and 100% of accident survivors receive a PTSD diagnosis, with an average of 60% throughout multiple studies.

Symptoms of PTSD

The signs of PTSD vary from person to person. For the most part, they begin within three months of a major car accident, but they can arise as late as three years after. Some common symptoms include:

  • Avoiding traveling by car.
  • Being easily startled.
  • Feeling tense or “on edge” while driving.
  • Experiencing bad dreams.
  • Negative self-perception.

A Santa Clara County Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you might experience physical, emotional, and even psychological injuries. These effects can not only have a significant financial impact, but they may also disrupt your daily life or your ability to work. A San Jose car accident injury attorney can help you hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence. The experienced attorneys at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. have an excellent track record for helping our clients earn the money they need to help them recover from their injuries. Find out how we can help you by calling 408-289-1417 to schedule a free and confidential initial case review.


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