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Risk factors for PTSD after a car crash

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2021 | Injuries, Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Recovering from a Washington car accident that results in bruises, cuts and broken bones can take weeks to months. However, the physical challenges with injuries are often more easily identified and treated than psychological stress. Getting help and managing the emotional impact is crucial for a full recovery.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, posttraumatic stress disorder often develops after a person witnesses or experiences a life-threatening event. Several factors can affect whether a person develops PTSD, such as previous traumatic exposure. If you or a loved one experienced combat or traumatic event, it might make PTSD after a catastrophic car crash more likely.

Risk Factors

When left untreated, PTSD can affect relationships with friends and family and impact job performance. Factors in addition to prior trauma that increase your risk for developing PTSD after an auto accident include the following:

  • Family history of psychopathology
  • Dissociation immediately after or during the event
  • Prior psychological adjustment issues
  • Lack of social support or resources

Seeking medical care after a car accident can help you identify and treat physical and emotional trauma before it can spread throughout other areas of your life.


A tragic accident that involves long-term disability or death can take a toll on crash victims. It can result in an extended recovery period and throw your life into turmoil. Every case of PTSD is as unique as the person affected.

After a collision, you may have nightmares in which you relive the accident. This often results in negative thought patterns, which can worsen, leading to problems concentrating and insomnia. Avoiding places and people that remind you of the accident may seem like a solution, but it is not a healthy way to cope with the problem.

Over time, PTSD can diminish your quality of life and make it impossible to function normally. If you were in a collision due to someone else’s negligence, you might have grounds for a claim. A settlement can help you pay for medical expenses and the care you need to move forward with your life.

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