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Trauma After Car Accident: 5 Types That You Need To Know

June 22, 2023 by Steven M. Gursten

Trauma After a Car Accident: 5 Types that you Need to Know

Trauma after a car accident is a real and serious condition. It most often takes the form of a TBI, PTSD, mental distress, emotional distress, or an adjustment disorder. It can interfere with an individual’s medical recovery, ability to return to work, engage in activities of daily living, and in severe cases, to productively resume their pre-automobile crash lives.

What is trauma after a car accident?

Trauma after a car accident is a crash victim’s emotional response to the distressing and disturbing nature of an automobile crash. As a result, a crash victim often feels a loss of control, loss of sense of safety, helplessness, pain, confusion, loss of sense of self and self-worth, and an inability to cope.

It is not uncommon for automobile crash survivors to fear driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle.

What medical conditions are caused by trauma after a crash?

The medical conditions that a crash victim may suffer as a result of trauma after a motor vehicle crash include: (1) TBI; (2) PTSD; (3) mental distress; (4) emotional distress; and (5) adjustment disorder.

Below are more details about each of these medical conditions:

TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)

Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of TBI-related hospitalizations. A TBI after a car accident can disrupt the normal functioning of a person’s brain. Many significant brain injuries will not show on medical diagnostic testing like MRI or CT, but can still result in profound changes in emotional functioning, particularly in the frontal lobe.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Research has shown that more than 30% of automobile crash survivors suffer PTSD after a car accident. It is caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as an automobile crash and it causes survivors to suffer intense fear, helplessness or horror.

Mental trauma after a car accident

Mental trauma after a car accident encompasses the mental health and psychological conditions that a crash victim may suffer after having been involved in a collision. Unfortunately, this form of trauma is frequently ignored because many people still attach a stigma to psychological injuries like this. The tragic result is that victims’ mental distress goes undiagnosed and, thus, untreated.

Emotional trauma after a car accident

Emotional trauma after a car accident can be as debilitating and life-altering as physical injuries such as broken bones. This is why prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial for making the best possible recovery.

Adjustment disorder

Adjustment disorder after a car accident is a mental health condition that occurs when car crash victims suffer extreme stress and anxiety as they try to adjust to their injuries, treatment and impairments in order to live their post-crash lives.


If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, then you may be suffering from trauma after a car accident and you should report these symptoms immediately to your doctor so that you can be promptly diagnosed and start receiving necessary treatment:

  • Flashbacks to or reliving the automobile crash
  • Nightmares about the automobile crash
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the automobile crash
  • Avoiding driving or riding in a vehicle
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities that you once enjoyed
  • Feeling hopeless about your future
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of memory of events immediately before the crash
  • Loss of memory of events immediately after the crash
  • Feeling dazed, disoriented or confused
  • Feeling drowsy and/or difficult to arouse
  • Difficulty thinking clearly and reasoning
  • Difficulty making decisions and solving problems
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Change in mood
  • Decrease in energy levels
  • Change in sex drive
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Sleep disorders
  • Difficulty with planning and organization
  • Increased aggression

Can I make a claim for No-Fault benefits?

In order to make a claim for No-Fault benefits you must file an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year of the automobile crash.

The No-Fault law’s “priority” rules will identify the auto insurer with which you must file your application. This auto insurance company will pay your auto No-Fault insurance benefits, which cover your medical bills and your lost wages if you cannot return to work.

Can I sue for trauma after a car accident?

If your auto insurance company refuses to pay for – or cuts-off – your auto No-Fault insurance benefits related to the injuries you suffered, then you can hire an attorney to bring a lawsuit and sue for unpaid and overdue medical bills, attendant care, medical mileage, replacement services and lost wages because your stress and emotional injuries have prevented you from returning to work.

You can also sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation but you will first have to show that the other driver was at-fault for causing the motor vehicle collision and that as a result you suffered a “serious impairment of body function” under Michigan’s automobile crash threshold law.

Additionally, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for other economic damages, such as excess and future medical bills and lost wages.

How much compensation for trauma after a crash?

The amount of compensation that you may be able to recover will depend on several factors. Courts will consider whether you are owed: (1) unpaid, overdue No-Fault benefits; (2) pain and suffering damages from the at-fault driver; and (3) other economic damages.

To learn more about how much compensation your PTSD case may be worth, please check our “Settlement Calculator.”

Suffering from trauma after a car accident? Call Michigan Auto Law now!

If you have suffered trauma after a car accident call now (855) 781-7747 for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. There is no cost or obligation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.

Michigan Auto Law is Michigan’s largest and most successful law firm that specializes exclusively in helping people who have been injured in auto accidents.

Our secret? Our personal injury lawyers deliberately handle fewer cases than other personal injury law firms.  This allows us to focus more time and attention on our cases.

Unlike other law firms, attorneys are never too busy to promptly return phone calls and answer questions. 

We have more than 2,000 5-Star Reviews that reflect this care and attention to detail.

More importantly, this client-focused approach leads to better and faster settlements for our clients. Michigan Auto Law has recovered more million-dollar settlements and trial verdicts for motor vehicle accidents than any other lawyer or law firm in Michigan. We’ve also recovered the highest ever reported truck accident and car accident settlement in the state.

Call now so we can start making a real difference for you.

Trauma After Car Accident: 5 Types That You Need To Know

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