Car Wrecks and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Car Accidents, Injuries

Most people associate PTSD with combat stress and other extreme stress. But about 50 percent of car accident survivors struggle with this brain injury. The symptoms, such as sleeplessness and anger, make it very difficult to function at home, work, school, or anywhere else. Furthermore, PTSD is rather difficult to diagnose and treat. In the early stages, it’s very difficult to distinguish between post-traumatic stress, which affects pretty much everyone, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a much more serious condition.

All these issues make PTSD a difficult condition to deal with, from a medical perspective. So, your Lexington personal injury attorney must work extra hard to obtain maximum compensation in these cases. Otherwise, victims may be forced to accept the treatment an insurance company is willing to pay for, as opposed to the treatment they really need.

What is PTSD?

The D-word (“disorder”) usually means the condition has something to do with a victim’s weakness. In this case, there was and is a strong belief among many that some PTSD victims simply can’t take it. Medically speaking, that’s not true.

Stress creates a chemical imbalance in the brain. The amygdala, which controls emotional responses, expands. Meanwhile, the cerebral cortex, which controls logical responses, shrinks. This imbalance results in the aforementioned symptoms. These victims basically cannot deal with stressful situations logically. Instead, they react emotionally.

So, PTSD is a physical brain injury. As such, doctors must treat it like a physical injury. That treatment usually involves a combination of drugs and therapy.

Treatment Issues

Drugs such as Xanax address chemical imbalances in the brain. So, at first blush, taking one of these drugs might seem like a good idea. Many doctors prescribe them for PTSD.

But not so fast. There is very little evidence that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective against PTSD. Even if they are effective, the impact might only be temporary. When patients stop taking SSRIs, their chemical brain compositions often reset to their previous configurations.

Still, SSRIs could work very well in some situations. There have also been some promising new studies about PTSD and MDMA (Molly or Ecstacy). After as little as one dose, some PTSD victims have seen significant progress.

Only a highly-qualified doctor should supervise this process. Drugs and PTSD are a dangerous combination. 

Individual and group therapy usually helps victims get to the heart of their car accident-related PTSD and also helps them avoid behavioral triggers. 

Brain injury therapy is nothing like broken bone physical therapy. WHen patients break bones and go to therapy, they usually get progressively better. But progress in brain injury physical therapy happens in fits and starts. A sudden breakthrough might follow a months-long plateau.

Lawyers play a critical role in both areas. Attorneys connect victims with brain injury doctors who know how to diagnose and address conditions like PTSD. Other well-meaning professionals might not be as qualified in these areas.

Furthermore, attorneys advocate for victims outside the courtroom. Insurance companies often want to pull the therapy plug if the victim doesn’t make progress by leaps and bounds. Lawyers make sure the money keeps flowing, so therapists can keep helping.

Legal Issues

PTSD is not an exclusively patient-focused condition. But a pre-existing condition may contribute to its development. A previous experience could create a mils chemical imbalance in the brain that’s not serious enough to reach the PTSD threshold.

Because of the eggshell skull rule, such pre-existing conditions are usually irrelevant. Generally, insurance company lawyers cannot use a victim’s vulnerabilities as an excuse to reduce or deny compensation. Workers’ compensation and some other kinds of cases work a bit differently. But that’s the subject of another blog.

Future medical expenses are often an issue as well in brain injury cases. These wounds are permanent. Dead brain cells never regenerate. So, a PTSD victim will probably need a combination of drugs and therapy for life.

It’s very important that a personal injury settlement fully account for all probable future medical costs. Otherwise, the victim could be financially responsible for these expenses.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money. #goodelawyers