Symptoms of Car Accident Trauma

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Being in a car accident, no matter how big or small can leave a lasting impact on you and how you live your life. Beyond the physical, financial, and logistical consequences, being in a collision or car wreck can take a toll on your mental health as well.

A particular psychological effect following a car accident is post-traumatic stress disorder, which we’ll explain below.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) After a Car Accident

In some cases, following your car accident, you may experience post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. This is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a highly traumatic event in which you experienced the death of another or felt your life was threatened by death or serious injury. Studies have shown that around 30% of people in a motor vehicle accident will feel some level of PTSD.

Intrusive Thoughts

Some of the most common psychological symptoms of PTSD include intrusive thoughts of the accident or upsetting dreams. Some may even have complete flashbacks which make them relive the incident as if they are still there. The severe emotional distress of these thoughts cannot be understated, and it’s advised for anyone experiencing PTSD to see a licensed mental health therapist to work through their triggers and feelings.


Other symptoms may include avoidance, reluctance, or refusal to do certain activities, such as driving or riding in a vehicle, getting on the interstate, driving over a bridge, and other events. It may also include the avoidance of certain external stimuli such as sights, smells, or sounds. This avoidance is your brain’s attempt at avoiding psychologically-triggering situations and sensations.


After a motor vehicle accident, many people also exhibit some emotional numbing or anhedonia. This lack of ability to feel emotions may make it difficult to find pleasure in everyday activities and experiences, and even in events that might have brought you great joy prior to your accident (a family outing, seeing a musical, playing sports, or other activities.).

You may find yourself withdrawing from social occasions, feeling detached from others, having a complete lack of libido, and experiencing nagging aches and pains. These depressive symptoms are a result of the trauma and severe stress of the accident which affect your brain’s responsiveness to rewards.


Hyperarousal is another symptom of PTSD that you might experience after a car accident. This can manifest in different ways, from having an exaggerated startle reflex, increased irritability, or disturbed sleep. You may feel paranoid or on high alert, even for no real reason. These feelings occur as compensation for the terror and lack of control you experienced in your accident.

Contact Our Law Offices to Start Your Healing Process

While it’s easy to recognize the physical ailments that result from an accident, the psychological effects can be just as damaging. Many of these symptoms of PTSD fade over time and with help of a licensed mental health practitioner or medications.

Another part of the healing process is seeking out legal compensation for the suffering you are experiencing or have experienced. If you think you’re experiencing PTSD after a car accident, you have every right to contact a Florida legal professional who can advocate for you and receive compensation for your losses and damages.

Call us today at JustCallMoe to schedule a consultation — we are available 24/7 at 866-225-5663.

Car Accident FAQs

How do I prove that I have PTSD from an accident?

Be sure to seek psychological help through a counselor or therapist and to have all your visits and diagnosis documented. Also, keep a daily log of the effects of your pain and suffering, including pain severity, events missed, and activities foregone.

What can I be compensated for?

In addition to any healthcare bills, you may be entitled to compensation for other current and financial losses, such as the replacement cost for a vehicle or for lost wages due to an inability to work. Your experienced attorney at Just Call Moe can help explain any other compensation you might be eligible to receive.

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