You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a car accident if you experienced or witnessed a terrifying event. Motor vehicle crashes are a common cause of PTSD, particularly if there were gruesome injuries or fatalities.

An Overview of PTSD

According to the Mayo Clinic, a terrifying event can trigger a mental health condition called PTSD. Sometimes the injured person gets the disorder, but other drivers, passengers, or even bystanders can end up with PTSD after a crash, as well.

It is common to experience stress from a car accident, and there is a difference between trauma and PTSD. Your stress may rise to the level of PTSD if your symptoms:

  • Interfere with his ability to cope and function in everyday activities
  • Get worse, not better
  • Continue for months or years

Remember, you do not have to be directly involved in an accident to suffer from PTSD.

Top Causes of PTSD

These are some of the most common traumatic situations that can cause a person to develop PTSD:

  • Accidents
  • Child abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Military action and/or combat
  • Assault or threat with a deadly weapon

Although many different people might see or experience the same traumatic event, they usually do not all develop PTSD. Medical experts do not know why some people develop the disorder and others do not, but people with previous traumatic experiences are more likely to get PTSD than others.

How PTSD Can Impact Your Life

PTSD can put a person at high risk of other mental health issues, including:

  • Misuse of alcohol and other drugs
  • Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Eating disorders

It is important to seek treatment for PTSD as soon as possible to help avoid these and other complications.


PTSD can make it hard to hold a job. If you struggle to function in everyday situations, it can be challenging to show up day after day and maintain your focus. Since PTSD often causes sleep disturbances, an employee might also experience ongoing sleep deprivation, which can interfere with cognitive ability and concentration.

Personal Relationships

PTSD can lead to divorce or break-ups of other personal relationships. It can be difficult for a significant other to understand what you are going through and to realize that your anger and other behavior is not directed at them, even when it might seem to be.

Financial Losses

Without stable employment, a person with PTSD can experience two-fold financial harm: in the short-term, they cannot pay their bills and might lose their home or vehicle. The long-term result of being unemployed is that the person does not contribute to Social Security. They might face dire poverty in their old age if they are not eligible for Social Security retirement benefits or Medicare health insurance.

Compensation for PTSD from a Car Accident

Our courts recognize that PTSD is a legitimate condition. We can include a claim for compensation for PTSD in an injury case when there is supporting medical evidence.

How to Prove a PTSD Claim

At S. Burke Law, we file legitimate claims for PTSD. We can build your case by using:

  • Medical records. Your doctor’s notes will show when you have talked with your doctor about the symptoms you experienced. They will also include information about prescriptions, referrals, or other measures the doctor took to treat your condition.
  • Expert witnesses. We can use expert witnesses to explain to the judge and jury that you developed the PTSD from the car accident and demonstrate how PTSD affects your life.

Let the team at S. Burke Law answer your questions about PTSD and car accidents. We investigate our clients’ accidents and gather the evidence to prove their personal injury cases. Call us today at 404-842-7838 to schedule your free consultation.