Car Accident PTSD – Symptoms, Treatment, Resources


Michigan personal injury attorney, Steve Weston, has dedicated his more than thirty-year career to advocating for and working with victims of catastrophic injuries and trauma. He is an attorney who takes his practice further than the courtroom. He actively engages in his client’s recovery and care post-accident. As part of this unique care team, he understands the life-changing emotional toll that often accompanies such injuries. Because of this, he has done extensive research on the connection between injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In a recently published article regarding PTSD on BestLawyers.com, Weston explains that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is more than a mental health disorder and outlines the connection between trauma and physical injury to the brain. He became interested in the topic when, time and again, many of his clients experiencing significant emotional distress following catastrophic motor vehicle accidents presented with many of the same symptoms as those suffering from PTSD. These symptoms commonly include but are not limited to: recurrent nightmares, irritability and anger, depression, being easily startled, and intense prolonged psychological distress. Additionally, many people with car accident PTSD may struggle getting into a motor vehicle again, replay the accident in their mind repeatedly, and experience feelings of unsafety.

If you’ve been in a car accident and are experiencing some of these symptoms, the following information is for you.

PTSD – Historically Speaking

While symptoms of PTSD have been recognized in humans for a century, the condition has been largely misunderstood and classified only as a mental health disorder. However, recent advancements in neuroimaging reveal a strong connection between emotional distress and physical changes in the brain itself, as well as many of its functions. PTSD first gained public attention with the return of soldiers following World War I and World War II. PTSD occurs as a result of experiencing or witnessing severe trauma or distress. Symptoms vary from person to person and can surface immediately following the traumatic event or be delayed by as long as a year in certain cases.

Car Accident PTSD

According to the American Psychological Association, car accidents are the leading cause of PTSD among the general, non-military population. While not everyone who’s been in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) develops PTSD, it’s actually fairly commonplace. This is especially true in instances of significant loss or injuries.

In cases where the other driver was clearly at fault, you may be able to bring a liability claim for non-economic loss damages against them. These types of claims include compensation for quality of life factors such as pain and suffering. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder easily falls under the category of pain and suffering. However, these types of claims can be complicated and certain requirements must be met. Because of this, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Michigan personal injury lawyer is crucial.

Does Your Child Have Car Accident PTSD?

Kids are so resilient, it might be easy to overlook the toll a distressing event had on them. Following a serious car accident, it’s not uncommon for children to be unsettled, confused, or shocked. The younger the child, the more confusing the situation may be, and it could be quite some time before they can be coaxed back into a vehicle. It’s important to identify any symptoms they may display so you can best support them in their recovery


Author Steve Weston, Kalamazoo personal injury lawyer

Getting Help for PTSD

It’s important to understand that PTSD is a very treatable condition. With professional care, many survivors of serious motor vehicle accidents transition back to a normal daily routine. It’s important to understand that PTSD is a physical injury to the brain. As such, it should receive the high-quality care and attention you give any other injury your accident may have caused. This includes finding a support group, educating yourself, and speaking with a professional clinician about your experience. Additionally, if you are pursuing legal action against the at-fault driver for your accident or handling a complicated wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one, you should inform your legal team of your condition. This will help ensure your team’s sensitivity and utmost care while handling the complexities of your case.


If you’ve been in a serious car accident and are suffering from symptoms of PTSD, we are here to help. We advocate for our clients and pursue the compensation and services they need to return to normal life. Please call us today at 866.758.0031 for a free initial case review. 

Authored by Kalamazoo personal injury lawyer, Steve Weston.