Does Your Child Have PTSD After a Car Crash?

May 14, 2018 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Does Your Child Have PTSD After a Car Crash?

Following a serious car crash, it is not unusual for all of the occupants of the car to be dazed, confused, or in shock. Car crashes can sometimes affect children the most, due to the screeching tires, flashing police and ambulance lights, and shattered glass. All of these can be extremely traumatic for children, not the mention the physical injuries which often accompany serious car crashes.

Post-traumatic stress disorder – or PTSD – is sometimes prevalent in children following a car crash. In fact, according to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), children are prone to experiencing severe trauma following events like car accidents.

If your child has been involved in a car crash and is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, they might be eligible to pursue and recover monetary compensation under the law. Damages recovered in a personal injury case can go towards paying for medical, psychological, or psychiatric treatment that may become necessary following a serious crash. Damages are also in place to compensate car accident victims for the pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish that they sustained as a direct result of their accident.

The knowledgeable Clearwater personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA may be able to help your child recover much-needed monetary compensation.

Symptoms of PTSD in Children

PTSD is a type of mental health condition which occurs when someone is exposed to a traumatic event, like an act of physical violence or a car accident. Symptoms of PTSD in children can vary largely, depending upon the age and maturity level of the child.

In the car accident context, children can become severely traumatized. PTSD in very young children can manifest itself in the form of fear of darkness, bedwetting, and separation anxiety. Children who are of elementary school age at the time of the accident may begin exhibiting anger outbursts, changes in school or social life, nightmares, headaches, or difficulty sleeping.

Finally, pre-teen or teenage children may exhibit poor school performance, depression, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping. Some teenagers may even develop a fear of driving once they reach driving age.

If your child is exhibiting symptoms of PTSD following a serious car crash, it is best to provide them with the necessary pediatric treatment and psychological care right away. This can help to prevent PTSD from developing into a more serious problem.

Treating PTSD Following a Car Crash

One good thing about PTSD – particularly in children – is that it is treatable if it is detected early on. Treatment for PTSD can include a variety of cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy may include allowing the child to talk freely about the car accident as well as teaching the child the coping skills which he or she can use when memories of the accident resurface.

Another potential treatment for PTSD in children is play therapy. Play therapy is sometimes used to treat PTSD symptoms in very young children. This type of therapy utilizes games or drawings to help young children cope with all of the negative memories associated with a car crash.

Recovering Monetary Compensation for Post-Accident PTSD

Proving the existence of mental trauma – including PTSD – following a car crash can sometimes be difficult. This is especially true in the case of young children who may have difficulty verbalizing their feelings and emotions anyway. Moreover, when it comes to mental illness and trauma, insurance company adjusters tend to become skeptical. They will often attempt to reduce or eliminate the compensation awarded for this type of illness or treatment. Remember, it is the adjuster's job to save the insurance company as much money as possible and to pay out as little money as possible in satisfaction of a personal injury claim.

In some cases, the insurance company may even point to other potential causes for the accident victim's PTSD, including prior psychological treatment or counseling and prior traumatic experiences. These prior experiences could include the death of a parent, sibling, or other loved one – and even prior vehicular or other types of accidents.

In order to recover monetary compensation for PTSD, including emotional distress, mental anguish, and pain and suffering damages, the accident victim will need to relate the PTSD to the subject motor vehicle accident. This can sometimes be accomplished by introducing the expert medical testimony of a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health provider. A mental health provider may be able to attest to the child accident victim's current and future treatment, as well as the cost of that treatment. A qualified mental health professional may also be able to examine all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash and tie the PTSD to the accident.

If the child suffered from a prior mental health condition before the car accident, such as depression or anxiety, the mental health provider might be able to testify that the current accident exacerbated these preexisting conditions and made them worse.

Contact a Clearwater, Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Car Crash Case

Car crashes can bring about a myriad of physical and mental injuries for children and adults alike. However, unlike adults, children's minds are still developing, and a severe car crash can lead to the onset of PTSD and other serious conditions.

Like physical injuries, mental injuries, including PTSD, are compensable under the law. For example, a child accident victim may be able to recover compensation for all mental health treatment and counseling, as well as for all of his or her pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and emotional distress associated with the accident.

If your child has been diagnosed with PTSD following a serious car crash, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The Clearwater personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA may be able to help your child recover fair monetary compensation under the law. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Clearwater personal injury lawyer, please call us today at (727) 451-6900, or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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