There are many aftereffects you might suffer after a car accident. You may have physical injuries and need days, if not weeks, of medical treatment and healing. Your car might be damaged and need repair.
While these are forces to deal with, the emotional trauma that often occurs after a crash may take you by surprise.
By the numbers
The National Center for PTSD identifies motor vehicle accidents as one of the most common traumas that people experience. An estimated 1 percent of the population will experience an MVA in any given year. That seemingly small percentage equates to more than 3 million people. About 9 percent of MVA survivors will develop PTSD.
You may be more susceptible to developing PTSD, not because of the accident, but because of pre- or post-accident conditions in your personal life. For example, people who have the presence of a mental health problem before the accident or who have poor social support may face a higher risk of PTSD following an MVA.
The conditions surrounding the actual accident itself can increase the chance that you will develop PTSD. More severe injuries can raise your trauma levels and put you at much higher risk. You do not have to sustain any injuries to experience PTSD symptoms, though. If the crash causes a significant fear of death or you experience the loss family members or passengers, or even watch someone you do not know die, your probability goes up.
If you are having difficulty dealing with the emotional trauma from a motor vehicle accident, the National Center for PTSD recommends getting psychological treatment. Medical doctors often do not have the training to recognize the signs and symptoms, and may not have the resources they need to offer proper therapy.
When the insurance company evaluates your claim, an agent may not know how to put a value on your emotional health. You may need to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement.