Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition caused by experiencing or witnessing a frightening or traumatic event. PTSD could come from being injured or losing a loved one abruptly. It can happen if you’re involved in a car accident.

When individuals suffer severe injuries in a car accident, the possibility of suffering from PTSD is very real. Here are four of the most common symptoms of PTSD individuals experience after a car or truck accident


After a car accident, one way PTSD manifests itself is through avoidance. Because the trauma was experienced in a car accident, the individual might avoid driving or even riding in cars. Often, this specific form of PTSD is referred to as “vehophobia.” 

While avoidance might not seem like a big deal in this situation, it can have life-changing consequences. We rely on cars for getting around and accomplishing everyday tasks. When a symptom of an individual’s PTSD includes avoiding driving it can make it difficult for them to get to work, buy groceries, and see loved ones.

In some cases, avoidance can be so severe that the affected individual won’t even want to talk about the accident or driving at all.

Intrusive Memories

Intrusive memories are a common symptom of PTSD. When it comes to those who have been injured in a car accident, they can include:

  • Flashbacks in which the individual relives the accident
  • Disruptive and recurrent nightmares about the accident
  • Extreme stress 

In addition to the above, a person experiencing intrusive memories might deal with seemingly uncontrollable memories of the accident. 

Negative Thoughts and Moods

A third manifestation of PTSD after a car accident includes negative thoughts and moods. While these might not seem severe, they can become consuming and envelope the individual in a sea of negativity. 

The way these negative thoughts work themselves out is different for each individual and comes in a range of severity. For some, it might be a general melancholy whereas for others it can make maintaining close relationships extremely difficult. 

Some individuals might also experience a loss of enjoyment in hobbies or activities they once loved. Withdrawing from and distancing oneself from friends and family are also possible.

Change in Reactions 

Finally, individuals who have PTSD after a car accident might experience a change in the way they normally react to common situations. This includes:

  • Having difficulty falling asleep
  • Acting irritable
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Being hyper-vigilant
  • Being easily startled 

All four of these symptoms can be difficult to live with and manage. They can make everyday tasks hard to accomplish and make moving on from the accident exceedingly challenging.

What You Should Do if You are Experiencing PTSD After a Car Accident

If you have been in a car accident and think you are suffering from PTSD the first thing you should do is see a doctor. Only a licensed doctor can diagnose you with PTSD and offer treatment that can make a meaningful, healthy difference.

Possible treatments include:

  • Exposure Therapy
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy
  • Medication

Only with the help of a doctor can you hope to successfully combat your case of PTSD.

If you are suffering from PTSD after a car accident, you should also consider talking to a qualified personal injury lawyer. A good lawyer will know what to look for in your case to determine whether or not you could be eligible to sue for compensation from the negligent party. 

Damages you might be able to recover include things like medical bills, lost wages, and even non-economic damages that will compensate you for the loss of enjoyment of life and the pain and suffering you have endured.

You have a lot going on and recovering from a traumatic accident can take all the energy you have. Let your lawyer shoulder some of your burden and take care of the legal matters surrounding your car accident and bout with PTSD.