Can a Motorcycle Accident Cause PTSD?
Motorcycle riding is one of the most popular hobbies in Alabama and the rest of the country. Mounting a motorcycle and enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer is a past-time that millions of people enjoy every year. The weather doesn’t have to be perfect to enjoy a ride on your motorcycle, but it should not be inclement if you want to stay safe. Motorcycle riding can be a dangerous hobby as well because of the way other drivers on the road tend to treat motorcyclists. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you might wonder if it can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here are some further details on this topic.
The American Psychiatric Association defines the diagnostic criteria for PTSD:
- Experiencing the event repeatedly through dreams, nightmares, flashbacks and memories
- Lack of interest in normal activities
- Feeling isolated
- Cannot sleep or concentrate
- Some amnesia about the accident
- Avoiding activities that could trigger memories of the crash
- Easily startled
- Overly aggressive
- Exhibiting high-risk or irritable behavior
- Excessive negativity
The symptoms of PTSD must last for more than one month in order to be properly diagnosed with the condition. The symptoms must also cause you to have trouble functioning while at work or while in social settings.
PTSD is Common After a Motorcycle Crash
PTSD is quite common following a motorcycle crash. The damage caused in a motorcycle crash is not always physical. You can experience damage to your motorcycle, your property, and to your body. You can also suffer emotional and psychological damage following a motorcycle crash. Aside from PTSD, you could also suffer anxiety, depression, and other types of emotional pain. PTSD is common in motorcycle accident victims because of the violent nature of these incidents.
The Risk of Developing PTSD
The risk of developing PTSD following a motorcycle accident is higher if any of the following was a result of the crash:
- Already have a history of depression or anxiety
- Have some feeling of guilt regarding the accident
- Someone else involved in the motorcycle crash died
- You suffer from a prior violent injury
A study released in 2009 by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine found that roughly 25 percent of people who are injured in a motor vehicle crash will develop PTSD. The study also found that motor vehicle crashes are a common cause of PTSD in civilians.
Living with PTSD
If you are diagnosed with PTSD following a motorcycle accident, you need to ask your doctor how you can live with this condition. If you don’t take care of yourself (both physically and mentally), the PTSD will take over your life. It’s important to follow all of the instructions given to you by your doctor to control your anxiety, fear, worry and stress.
It’s not uncommon for people suffering from PTSD to experience divorce, loss of friends, loss of employment, substance abuse, debt and many other issues. It can be difficult to socialize with family and friends, challenging to go to work daily, and you may even trouble treating your PTSD due to drug addiction.
Who Can Develop PTSD?
You might be thinking that only someone riding a motorcycle can develop PTSD when involved in an accident. There’s a long list of people who can develop PTSD if they were involved in or were witness to a motorcycle accident. This includes any of the following:
- A driver or passenger of a car or truck involved in the crash
- The rider or passenger of a motorcycle involved
- Anyone who witnessed the crash
- Anyone who witnessed severe or fatal injuries to someone involved
- First responders who cared for the injured
- A loved one who is caring for an injured family member or who lost someone in the crash
Recovering Damages for PTSD Caused by a Motorcycle Crash
If you are diagnosed with PTSD following a motorcycle crash, you can recover damages for this injury. However, emotional injuries like PTSD are more difficult to prove than physical injuries. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. This is especially true in Alabama, where they apply the defendant-friendly “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, if an injury victim is found to be even 1% at-fault for the accident that caused the injury, they can be barred from recovering compensation. Call The Law Office of J. Allan Brown LLC at 251-473-6691 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your situation. We will thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your rights and legal options.