Can you get post-traumatic stress disorder from a car accident?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is commonly associated with events like seeing combat while serving in the armed forces. However, it's important to remember that many traumatic events can spur PTSD, like being involved in a car accident.

In fact, one study found that a car accident was the second-most common traumatic event for women, coming in at 13 percent. For men, it was the most common, at 25 percent. Clearly, for many people, nothing will be as difficult as getting through a serious accident.

So, how many people end up with PTSD after a crash? Some studies put it at about 9 percent. When looking just at those who actively go out and get mental health treatment after a crash, the average amount who have PTSD is 60 percent, with a range from 14 percent all the way to 100 percent.

On top of that, studies found that anywhere from 3 percent to 53 percent of those who lived through accidents and got treatment for PTSD also had similar mood disorders, like major depression. Again looking at those who sought treatment, another study said that 15 percent had a phobia of driving and 27 percent were dealing with anxiety disorders.

What is clear from these studies is that physical injuries are not the only issues that people have to deal with after car accidents. Treatment for PTSD and other mental and emotional disorders may also be needed. It's wise for those who need this treatment to know how they can seek compensation for all of the related costs following an accident.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "Traumatic Stress and Motor Vehicle Accidents," Todd Buckley, accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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