4 out of 10 accident victims have PTSD

Simply surviving a car accident does not mean that you can quickly put the incident behind you. It's a very traumatic experience. It may be the most frightening thing that has ever happened in your life. That takes a mental and emotional toll, as well. It's not just a physical issue. And these other ramifications can, in some cases, prove far harder to shake.

For instance, did you know that almost four out of every 10 people who go through a serious accident then develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD? Technically, the number from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is 39.2%. That's out of all motor vehicle accident survivors.

Increasing the odds

Some things increase the odds of PTSD. How serious was the accident? Did you get injured? Did a loved one suffer serious injuries or pass away, and did you have to witness that? Even if someone you did not know at all -- perhaps the driver in the other car -- got badly injured, it can increase the chances that you will have PTSD.

We know that car accidents are dangerous. We know that driving comes with certain risks. However, most people do not realize what that means until they find themselves in that situation. This is what makes it so difficult to cope with.

The impact

The impact of having PTSD can be tremendous. You may find that you:

  • Also develop depression or anxiety
  • Need to work with a therapist or another medical professional
  • Cannot return to work or school
  • Never feel safe on the roads again
  • Cannot drive a car for years or for life
  • Have flashbacks and nightmares

Much of the modern research about PTSD focuses on military service, and it's important to note that getting into a bad car accident is one of the few things you can do that is just as extreme. The odds of injury and death are very high. Your whole life can change in a split second. You may feel completely out of control during the entire experience.

Don't downplay the way that you feel after the accident. Do not assume that you should be able to put it behind you after you heal. Remember that PTSD is a very real medical disorder that can drastically change your life, and it is something that you want to take seriously moving forward.

Your rights

For all of these issues and more, you may find yourself facing some high medical bills, lost wages and other costs. It's critical that you take the time to look into your rights to financial compensation to help cover these costs, especially with long-term conditions like PTSD.

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