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What We Know About PTSD From Motor Vehicle Accidents

Research has found that some survivors of severe motor vehicle accidents suffer from mental health problems, including PTSD, anxiety and depression as a result of their crashes. A number of variables have been identified to identify the risk factors that influence the development of PTSD after a severe auto accident.

Car Accidents Take their Toll on Mental Health

According to the National Center for PTSD, around one percent of people in the United States are involved in an auto accident every year. A motor vehicle crash is the most frequently experienced traumatic event for men and the second most common traumatic experience for women. Alongside physical injury, fatality and property damage, and the 100 billion dollars spent annually to deal with the aftermath, some car crashes also cause PTSD and other mental health issues.

Around 9 percent of people who survive a motor vehicle accident experience an onset of PTSD. Of the people who have sought treatment for mental health issues resulting from an accident, an average of 60 percent suffer from PTSD.

Identifying the Risk for PTSD

Research has been carried out to identify the victims who are most at risk of developing PTSD after becoming involved in a car crash using three categories: the variables related to the person’s state of being before the crash, the crash itself, and events occurring after the accident.

The individuals deemed to be most at risk include those with poor coping mechanisms for experiencing trauma, people who don’t have sufficient social support, and victims who already suffer from mental health issues. Furthermore, it appears that the more severe the physical injuries a survivor experiences and the greater the fear of death, the higher the likelihood that person will develop PTSD.

Post-accident lifestyle is also an important determinant of a survivor’s mental health. The less support a victim receives from family and friends, the longer it takes to recover from injury, and the longer it takes to get back to a normal lifestyle, the more likely PTSD is to occur.

This research shows that survivors of car crashes often experience more than physical injuries and financial drawbacks as a result of their experiences. An auto accident attorney might use this research to help support a victim's claim for compensation to cover mental health treatment needed to resume a more productive life.

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