How Do I Prove PTSD After a Car Accident in Illinois?

When most people talk about the aftereffects of motor vehicle accidents, they usually focus on the physical and financial repercussions. Too often, they ignore the non-economic damages that come from mental and emotional anguish, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

We tend to associate the disorder with people returning from combat but facing PTSD after a car accident is common. And just like any other mental condition, car crash PTSD can impact numerous aspects of your life and make it difficult to continue with your everyday life.

But, just like with physical and financial compensation, you can go after compensation for PTSD. But you will need to prove to the insurance companies that you are suffering from it and that it is tied directly to your car accident.

What Is PTSD?

According to the American Psychological Association, PTSD is a condition that may result when someone experiences an event that they believe is a threat to their life or physical/mental integrity. In some cases, the victim is actively involved in the event. In other cases, they are a witness to it.

PTSD Symptoms

Depending on the traumatic event and the person’s personality, PTSD can manifest differently. When it comes to car accident PTSD, the most common symptoms and how they might affect you can include:

Intense flashbacks or recurrent dreams/nightmares

You could immediately be triggered by sounds commonly heard while driving, such as loud braking. This sends you back to the day of the accident, and you are no longer as focused on driving as you need to be.

Avoidance of activities or places that remind you of the traumatic event

Your commute could become longer because you now take a different route to avoid any reminders of the crash. You may even decide not to ride in or drive cars as often, creating delays or inconveniences in your life.

Diminished responsiveness in the form of emotional anesthesia or numbing

You try to ignore your feelings, but you might reduce your attentiveness. Once again, you are no longer as focused as you need to be.

Disinterest in significant activities

Your job might require you to be highly outgoing, but that can seem impossible if you cannot generate excitement. Once you are not doing your job effectively, you are at risk of termination.

Feelings of detachment and estrangement from others

Relationships can begin to suffer as you feel like no one around you understands the struggle that you are experiencing. This can create broken bonds, and sometimes it can end marriages.

What Treatments are Available for Car Crash PTSD?

Common practices are used to treat car crash PTSD. In some cases, you might need a combination of different methods to achieve results. However, the length of your treatment will depend on your case’s severity and how you respond to your prescribed treatment.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Here, you change and challenge your current beliefs associated with your trauma. This helps you create a new understanding and conceptualization of your event so that it reduces its ongoing adverse effects on your life.

Exposure Therapy

Your mental health professional creates a safe space and exposes you to stimuli that trigger your symptoms. You’ll benefit by facing your fears without being exposed to physical danger.


If your mental health professional sees fit, they can recommend that you take anti-anxiety medications such as:

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

Can I Recover Compensation for PTSD After an Illinois Car Crash?

Around two dozen studies of people involved in motor vehicle accidents show that approximately 25-33% of the sample experienced some form of PTSD. Insurance companies know this and have policies to compensate those suffering from it.

However, they will want definitive proof that you have been diagnosed with it and that it is impacting your everyday life. To be diagnosed, you will need an evaluation from a psychologist or psychiatrist that proves you are indeed suffering from it, how it is affecting your life, and that you need treatment. Once you have this proof and the associated cost(s), you can submit a claim to your insurance or the company representing the other driver, unless they are uninsured.

Can an Illinois Car Accident Lawyer Help My Case?

Trying to gather all the evidence that you will need can be challenging. Worst of all, it can force you to relive every aspect of your accident, worsening your mental anguish.

A good car accident lawyer can handle the legal side of things while you heal and allow you to focus on your recovery.

Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers for Help with Your PTSD Case

Mental effects after an accident deserve as much attention as physical ones. That is why the accident attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. help people suffering from car accident PTSD get the compensation they need.

To learn more, contact us at 888-988-7612 for a free consultation, or send us a message.