In recognition of National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Month, it is essential to recognize that combat veterans aren’t the only people in our country to experience the disorder. Many people suffer from PTSD after other traumatic events, like car accidents or dog attacks, that can severely impair their normal functions and adversely impact their quality of life. PTSD affects 2.5 to 7 million car accident victims alone in the United States.

Fear and anxiety can develop after any traumatic, life-threatening situation; you may become fearful of driving or riding in a vehicle after a severe collision, or experience panic attacks when even a friendly dog approaches too suddenly.

When a traumatic incident changes your life, the South Carolina accident lawyers at the Joye Law Firm can help you hold the responsible party accountable and get you the compensation you deserve.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Statistics

The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD as an anxiety disorder that develops because of a life-threatening event, such as a dog attack.

Children are the most vulnerable to dog attacks because of their smaller size and inability to defend themselves. In a 2004 study with 22 children who were victims of dog bites, more than half developed symptoms of PTSD within 2 to 9 months after the attack.

The emotional and psychological effects of PTSD can affect children as they age, since the memory part of the brain may be permanently damaged, losing the ability to recall memories.

A car accident can cause PTSD symptoms to appear hours, days, or months after the event, and they can last for years. As much as a third (25-33%) of car accident survivors show symptoms of PTSD over a month after their crashes. The disorder can trigger flight-or-fight responses in people with PTSD, whether they are trying to get into a car or hearing a car pass by.

Physical impairment, psychological distress, and unhealthy pain-coping strategies are associated with PTSD symptoms. People who survive auto accidents and have PTSD are also more likely to suffer from substance abuse disorders.

These statistics show ‌that it is crucial for car accident victims to receive help with their symptoms, not just for their physical injuries, but also for their mental and emotional pain and suffering following a severe crash. The car accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm will consider the severity of your symptoms when helping you to calculate fair compensation.

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress

A person who has PTSD from a car accident, dog attack, or other serious accident might experience one or several symptoms. These symptoms vary between people, and young children may show different signs than teenagers and adults.

Recurring experiences about the accident

The following symptoms are common for those with PTSD who are experiencing recurring thoughts:

  • Flashbacks, such as reliving the trauma and feeling the physical symptoms associated with it
  • Nightmares from the accident
  • Fearful, intrusive thoughts

Certain thoughts, physical objects, or situations can trigger a victim’s PTSD, disrupting their daily lifestyle. An auto accident victim with PTSD might have a flashback to their accident when they see a truck. A dog bite victim may hear a dog bark and experience a racing heart or sweating.

Avoidance of certain situations and places

Reminders of a car accident or dog bite attack may trigger these avoidance symptoms:

  • Avoidance of locations and objects that are reminders of the trauma
  • Resistance to thoughts and feelings related to the attack or crash

For example, a car accident victim may find that these symptoms cause them to change their routine. After a severe accident on a major highway, the victim may refuse to drive near that location again. They may even avoid driving, hindering their ability to enjoy life and commute to work.

A dog bite victim may avoid certain locations, like the park or beach, where dogs are often present.

Agitation and reactiveness

An accident victim may experience constant agitation and reactivity throughout the day. These symptoms include:

  • Tendency to be startled easily
  • Continual tension
  • Sleep issues
  • Temper-related outbursts

These symptoms can cause stress and anger, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or concentrate.

Mood and cognitive issues

Mood and cognitive issues are common after a traumatic event. The symptoms may show up as:

  • Trouble recalling key details of the incident
  • Self-criticism or negative thoughts
  • Distortion of certain feelings, such as guilt
  • Loss of enjoyment of certain activities

Such symptoms can lead a victim to feel as if they are being alienated or isolated from friends and family members.

PTSD May Show Up Differently with Children

Following a traumatic event, children may experience the following symptoms of PTSD:

  • Dramatizing the accident during playtime
  • Bedwetting, even if they are toilet-trained
  • Unusual clinginess towards a parent or other adult

Destructive behaviors can also develop in older children and teens. There may be thoughts of revenge and guilt over not preventing injury or death. The symptoms of PTSD can cause disruption and degrade the quality of your life if you have it or know someone who has it. Whenever an accident leaves you with physical and emotional trauma, you want to know that the negligent party is held liable.

A South Carolina Injury Lawyer Can Help You

An experienced accident lawyer from the Joye Law Firm can help you navigate the legal process of filing a claim against the at-fault party and their insurance company. A lawyer can review your medical bills, prescription receipts, and other expenses related to your PTSD treatment to calculate the damages.

With the help of an accident lawyer, you may recover financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and loss of wages. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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