Vehicular Crashes: A Significant Contributor to PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Car Accidents


Truck accidents and car accidents can be traumatizing and life-changing events. Survivors of such incidents often suffer physical injuries that are severe and life-altering.

However, one aspect of such events that is often overlooked is the significant impact they can have on the mental health of those involved. In particular, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can arise in trauma survivors involved in serious motor vehicle accidents, often sustaining multiple severe injuries or having witnessed a serious motor vehicle accident or collision.

Let’s explore the various aspects of PTSD and its relation to a motor vehicle crash.

PTSD After a Truck Accident


Accidents can be traumatic events that can significantly impact an individual’s mental health.

The event can trigger a fight-or-flight response, releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can result in physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate and rapid breathing.

The trauma of the event can lead to the development of PTSD, and the severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the individual’s experience during the trucking accident.

Individuals involved in such accidents could experience symptoms associated with it even if they did not suffer any physical injuries.

Symptoms can arise immediately after the event or take weeks or even months to develop. PTSD can affect anyone involved in a truck accident, whether a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.

Reasons Why You May Develop PTSD After a Motor Vehicle Accident

A serious injury or motor vehicle accident’s intense and sudden nature is traumatic, and individuals may experience fear, helplessness, or horror during and after the event.

The severity of the crash, such as the extent of the injuries they sustained or property damage, can be burned as images into the car accident victim’s memory and remain highly vivid for some time.

PTSD after a serious auto accident can be caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • The severity of the crash,
  • The individual’s perception of the event,
  • Their personal history of mental illness and their coping mechanisms, and
  • Their support system.

Individuals with a family history of trauma or mental health disorders or who have experienced previous motor vehicle crashes may be at a higher risk of developing PTSD

Additionally, those lacking social support, limited coping skills, or facing ongoing stressors may be more vulnerable to developing PTSD after motor vehicle collisions.

Symptoms of PTSD


PTSD symptoms can be classified into four categories:

  • Intrusion: symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts related to the traumatic event.

  • Avoidance- symptoms refer to avoidance of activities or places that remind the individual of the event.

  • Negative alterations in cognition and mood: refer to negative thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about oneself and the world.

  • Alterations in arousal and reactivity: refer to hypervigilance, irritability, and an exaggerated startle response.

You may have been involved in a trucking accident and suffered some of these PTSD symptoms after your trauma exposure. Perhaps you were injured in an auto accident and are now curious about how trucking injuries occur.

You could claim for personal injuries caused by another driver’s negligent actions. We offer a free initial consultation to injured truckers and will be able to advise you once we have had a chance to assess the facts of your case.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


PTSD is classified as a mental health disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a guide published by the American Psychiatric Association.

An individual is diagnosed with PTSD if they have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event and exhibit symptoms that last for at least a month. Symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with daily life, and the diagnosis is required to be made by a qualified mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) is a standardized, structured clinical interview to assess and diagnose PTSD. The CAPS is widely considered the gold standard for evaluating the presence and severity of PTSD symptoms.

How Long Does PTSD Last After a Truck Accident?


The length of time varies depending on the individual’s health status and the trauma’s severity.

Symptoms can last for months or even years if symptoms are left untreated. However, with proper treatment and early identification, the length of time that symptoms last can be reduced.

PTSD treatment options include cognitive therapy, other psychological interventions, group therapy, and anti-anxiety medications. An attractive, reasonably new form of therapy is PTSD virtual reality exposure therapy, which seems effective.

PTSD Car Accident Settlement Amount


Individuals who have developed PTSD after a car crash may be entitled to compensation as part of a settlement agreement with the responsible party or their insurance company.

The amount of settlement that can be claimed depends on various factors, including the severity of the PTSD symptoms, the impact on the individual’s daily life and ability to work, and the specific circumstances of the accident.

Every case is different, and there is no set amount for a settlement. It is determined based on the specific damages that the individual has suffered.

Compensation for PTSD may include:

  • Economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages) and

  • Non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering and emotional distress).

Our Experience With PTSD and Truck Drivers


Trucking companies may find our personal injury services helpful. We often encounter truck drivers with PTSD diagnoses as accident survivors. We have seen up close how debilitating this can be and, thus, regularly include PTSD in the overall damages claim.

If you have developed PTSD after an accident, consider working with our experienced attorneys for injured truckers to negotiate a fair settlement amount. Call us to schedule a consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can Truck Drivers Have PTSD?

Truck drivers involved in a crash may be more susceptible to PTSD due to the nature of their job. They spend long hours on the road, which can be stressful and isolating.

Additionally, they may have experienced multiple near-miss incidents or motor vehicle accidents, which can increase the risk of developing PTSD.

1994 medical study found that 39.2% of motor vehicle accident victims met the DSM-III-R criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, and 53% of those who met the criteria for PTSD also met the criteria for current major depression.


Can You Drive if You have PTSD?

Motor vehicle accident survivors who have PTSD after a car accident or severe injury may be hesitant to drive or even unable to drive due to the symptoms they experience. Hypervigilance, flashbacks, and an exaggerated startle response can make driving challenging.

If you are uncertain about your abilities, seeking treatment for PTSD from a mental health professional would be a good idea.