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Can I Develop PTSD as a Result of a Car Crash?


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition related to trauma and stressors. It often emerges following a traumatic or stressful experience.

If you’ve ever been involved in one, you know just how difficult experiencing a car accident can be—even one that doesn’t produce any serious injuries. Consequently, you may wonder whether it’s possible to develop PTSD as a result of a car crash. Read on to find out.

PTSD and Car Accidents

Unfortunately, it is very possible to develop PTSD as a result of a car accident. In fact, some studies show that nearly a quarter (22.25%) of all car accident survivors experience PTSD.

However, it’s important not to confuse PTSD with depression. Many of the symptoms are very similar, but the conditions overall have key differences that set them apart.

Symptoms of PTSD

Not all PTSD symptoms appear immediately. It may take many weeks or months after the traumatic accident to start noticing the symptoms.

The following are some of the most common symptoms associated with PTSD:

  • Re-experiencing memories
  • Avoidance
  • Mood swings and adversarial thoughts
  • Modifications in behaviors and reactions

Re-Experiencing Memories

The physical symptoms of re-experiencing memories include:

  • Flashbacks or invasive memories about the traumatic experience,
  • Nightmares, and
  • Unwanted memories.


In an attempt not to experience triggers from the event, you may try not to think or talk about what happened. As a result, you may try to avoid certain situations that remind you of what happened, including:

  • People
  • Places
  • Events

Mood Swings and Adversarial Thoughts

Your mood changes often, but if you suffer from PTSD following a crash, it’s common to feel blue, numb, and hopeless habitually. It’s also normal for you to be hard on yourself and experience a significant amount of guilt or self-loathing. There’s also the possibility that you’ll feel disconnected from others, even your closest friends and family. Sadly, this can exacerbate the symptoms associated with PTSD.

Modifications in Behaviors and Reactions

You may start to experience odd emotional fits, such as getting startled or scared easily, mad, or unreasonable. It’s also possible for you to start acting in a self-destructive manner, including engaging in behaviors such as:

  • Speeding
  • Taking drugs
  • Consuming too much alcohol

We’re Here to Help

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, including in a psychological manner, you may be owed compensation for your losses. Don’t delay—reach out right away to learn how we can help.

We offer free consultations. You can get the answers you need when you need them most. Call us today at (916) 476-2399, and get our skilled team on your side!

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