Motor Vehicle Accidents


PTSD and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor Vehicle Accidents can have serious and long-lasting consequences for survivors, both in terms of physical and psychological outcomes. One serious psychological consequence often associated with MVAs is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). MVAs are the leading cause of PTSD in the general population. Each year, there are an estimated 6 million MVAs in the United States, resulting in over 2.5 million injuries. For many, the symptoms of PTSD following a serious MVA may include:

  • Psychologically re-experiencing the trauma (e.g. intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the accident)
  • Avoidance of thoughts or situations associated with the accident (e.g. refusal to drive or get into a car, actively avoiding thoughts about the MVA)
  • Numbing emotional responsiveness (e.g. feeling detached from others or feeling an absence of emotions)
  • Increased physical arousal (e.g. becoming increasingly irritable or being unable to sleep)


  • MVAs are one of the leading causes of PTSD
  • Globally over 50 million people experience trauma as a result of road traffic accidents every year
  • MVA-related PTSD may affect 2.5 to 7 million people in the US, reflecting a significant public health problem
  • It is estimated that around 10% of people involved in a MVA will develop PTSD symptoms within 12 months of the event

Predictive Factors of PTSD

Having a strong perception that your life was in danger during a car accident can lead to avoidance behaviors (for example, not getting in a car or going on the highway), which increases the likelihood of PTSD.

This avoidance strengthens the belief that driving is dangerous, a thought pattern that can maintain your fear response. The avoidance of thoughts and emotions can interfere with the healthy processing of your emotions, which can also increase the risk of PTSD.

How we can help

There are various types of effective treatments for PTSD. To read more about these please click here. If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD following a motor vehicle accident, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. PTSD can disrupt your whole life - your relationships, your job, your health and your ability to take part in everyday activities. It is important to contact a qualified attorney with experience in PTSD claims in order to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Our Los Angeles based law firm invites you to contact us for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation to review your case!

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