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PTSD and the Accident Victim

Posted on: May 24, 2017

PTSD

When considering victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), most think of military combat veterans. The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs defines PTSD as a malady suffered, “after someone goes through a traumatic event like combat, assault, or disaster.” Certainly a traumatic automobile accident would fit into this description. In fact, the American Psychological Association affirms that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in the general population.

How Many People Suffer Serious Automobile Accidents?

In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published that 2.44 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. This reflects an increase of 105,000 people injured in motor vehicle crashes over 2014. Closer to home, there were 23,453 motor vehicle accidents that caused injury in Oklahoma in 2015. Nearer still, there were 9,935 vehicle accidents with injury in Tulsa and 408 in McAlester in the same year.

In a study cited by the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs, “accidents were shown to be the traumatic event most frequently experienced by males (25%) and the second most frequent traumatic event experienced by females (13%) in the United States.”

What is the Risk for Vehicle Accidents and PTSD?

Every individual is different and their complex mental and psychological makeup contributes a wide variety of factors that makes determining who is at risk for developing PTSD after a motor vehicle accident extremely difficult. When seeking to identify those as risk of developing PTSD after an accident, researchers focus on three sets of variables.

  • Characteristics of the individual that were present prior to the accident – These may include but not be limited to a poor sense of self-worth, diminished ability to cope with stress or trauma, depression or another mental health issue and previous negative experiences or consequences from an accident.
  • Accident-related variables – These include the extent of injuries suffered, potential loss of life, loss of others in the accident and potential or estimated difficulty of recovery or lack thereof.
  • Post-accident variables – These include the rate of physical recovery, amount and level of re-engagement with normal activities such as work and social pursuits and the level and quality of the support network surrounding the victim.

If you have been involved in a serious car accident in eastern Oklahoma, Tulsa or McAlester and believe you may have PTSD, you should share these feelings with your physician as soon as possible. Only a medical professional can make a definitive diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD as the result of a motor vehicle accident, call the professionals at Edwards & Patterson Law at 877-403-8417 or contact us online. You may be entitled to compensation for your condition.

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