We often hear about PTSD in the context of war veterans or those who are survivors of abusive parents or partners; and when we hear of car crashes, we think of broken bones and brain injuries. However, people can suffer from PTSD after experiencing any traumatic event, and that includes traffic accidents.
While physical injuries should be seen to with expedience, mental injuries should not be ignored or brushed off. Society has not been known for taking mental health as seriously as it should be, though we are making strides forward every day. That’s why we wanted to take some time to talk about how serious PTSD can be for anyone involved in a traumatic accident, specifically car accidents. Psychological injuries are as common as physical injuries when it comes to crashes, and should be treated just as seriously, as they can have a tremendous and disruptive effect on one’s personal and work life.
What is PTSD?
First, let’s discuss what PTSD is. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, “is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”
Like a spinal cord injury or the loss of a limb, PTSD requires treatment and therapy for the person to heal. It is not about being strong or weak, it is not a fake injury. PTSD can affect every aspect of your life such as interfering with your job, your friendships, your relationships with your family, and so on. In our society, seeking help for your mental health is often one of the many barriers those with PTSD face. If someone needed glasses, you wouldn’t tell them to get over it or that they’re weak. The same should apply to mental health. Your mind is a critical component to your overall health, and it should be treated as such.
PTSD and car accidents
Car accidents are common. In Davidson County alone, there were 24,873 car accidents in 2021 with 131 fatalities, and 8,734 injuries. None of these numbers calculate whether any of these survivors went on to suffer from psychological injuries such as PTSD. According to Dr. Matthew Tull, a professor of psychology at the University of Toledo in Ohio, “motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population. Each year, there are an estimated six million MVAs in the United States, resulting in over 2.5 million injuries. According to a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study, 39.2% of MVA survivors develop PTSD.”
What are the long term effects of PTSD?
Just as with physical injuries, PTSD needs proper treatment or else complications and long-term symptoms may develop. PTSD can leave a victim at a higher risk of developing other mental health disorders and even certain physical medical illnesses. Pacific Grove Hospital details the long term complications and illnesses that may develop if PTSD goes untreated. These include:
- Worsening physical health problems
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic pain
- Autoimmune diseases
- Loss of occupational or scholastic functioning
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Decreased ability to have successful interpersonal relationships
- Separation or divorce
- Social isolation and withdrawal
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
As we can see, PTSD can not only cause your mental health to deteriorate, but also your physical health. Any doctor would agree that mental health and physical health are linked; if one suffers, the other may suffer as well. That is one reason why there is such a push being made for people in all walks of life to take your emotional and mental wellbeing seriously.
Why you need a Nashville car accident lawyer
We all know that medical costs can be astronomical after suffering injuries from a car accident. In filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party, it may be obvious to factor in your hospital bills, your physical therapy bills, and damages to your car and property. Paying for all of that yourself, especially when it was someone else’s negligence that caused the accident, injuries, and damages would be unjust. Treating injuries to your mind is just as important, as treatment for PTSD can be just as costly. You do not deserve to suffer the whole host of mental struggles and pain, and you certainly don’t deserve to pay for their treatment.
If you have been in a car accident (or you’ve suffered mental trauma due to someone’s negligence), you should contact a personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney knows how to get the money you need to pay for both your physical injuries and your psychological injuries. At Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we take mental health seriously. PTSD is not something to shrug off or push through. It needs treatment, just as much as a broken back needs treatment. If you think you’re suffering from PTSD from a traffic accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We will be steadfast and determined when representing you. We proudly serve our community through our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Clarksville.