Can You Get PTSD From a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle on the Road After an AccidentMotorcycle accident victims can develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the trauma they have experienced. Many people who have experienced motorcycle wrecks suffer psychological and emotional distress afterward, including physical and emotional pain and suffering, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

How Can I Get PTSD From a Motorcycle Accident?

According to a 2009 study, motor vehicle crashes are a common cause of PTSD in the civilian population. About 25 percent of people injured in vehicle wrecks develop some degree of PTSD.

You are most at risk for this condition if:

  • Another person in the motorcycle crash died;
  • You had a previous violent injury;
  • You feel some guilt over the wreck;
  • You are female; or
  • You have a history of depression.

Researchers have found no one is immune to PTSD. You can develop PTSD after a crash regardless of your education level, marital status, or injury severity.

What Is PTSD?

The 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) provides the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. A person diagnosed with this condition could experience serious side effects that include:

  • Persistently re-experiencing the traumatic event through such things as nightmares, flashbacks, or upsetting memories;
  • Avoiding things that could trigger memories of the traumatic event;
  • Feelings of isolation;
  • A lack of interest in activities;
  • Partial amnesia about the traumatic event;
  • Feeling extremely negative;
  • An inability to sleep or concentrate;
  • Hypervigilance;
  • Irritable or aggressive behavior;
  • Destructive or high-risk behavior; and
  • An extreme startle reaction.

To qualify as PTSD, these symptoms must last for longer than one month, and cause the patient to be unable to function at work or socially.

If you believe you might have PTSD after a motorcycle accident, contact a mental health professional immediately. It is essential that you get the help you need to minimize the effects PTSD can have on your everyday life.

How Can PTSD Affect My Life?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the disturbing, intense feelings and thoughts can linger long after the traumatic event. This can easily disrupt your life and make it difficult for you to keep your job and maintain relationships. People with PTSD can experience divorce, depression, financial crisis, substance abuse, and other mental health challenges.

How Can PTSD From a Motorcycle Crash Affect My Settlement?

The medical experts agree that PTSD is a real phenomenon that can turn a person’s life upside down. If PTSD has negatively impacted your life, you might be able to recover emotional distress damages for those losses, in addition to the typical damages recoverable in a personal injury claim.

PTSD damages can be a hybrid of economic and non-economic losses. Your economic damages could include the cost of your PTSD treatment, lost wages, and decreased earning potential. Your non-economic damages would reimburse you for the mental anguish and emotional distress of what you are suffering. Also, if your PTSD renders you unable to ride a motorcycle again, you can recover damages for your loss of enjoyment of life.

How Do I Prove That the Motorcycle Wreck Caused My Condition?

A motorcycle accident attorney can use the records and testimony of your treatment team to build your case that the motorcycle crash caused your PTSD. These cases can be challenging because the symptoms can take time to develop. The symptoms of PTSD become evident in most people within three to six months of the wreck, but in some people, the condition surfaces even later. The more time that passes between the accident and the PTSD symptoms, the harder it is to establish a causal link. That is why it is so important that you seek professional help as soon as you suspect you might be suffering from PTSD.

Who Can Get PTSD From a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle riders can get PTSD from the direct experience of sustaining a severe or life-threatening injury in a crash, but other people can also develop the condition. You are a candidate for PTSD if you were:

  • A passenger on the motorcycle, even if you had no significant physical injuries;
  • An occupant of a vehicle involved in or near the wreck;
  • A witness to the accident as it happened;
  • A person who saw severely or fatally injured victims;
  • A bystander who provided assistance to people hurt or killed;
  • A first responder who helped or treated the victims; or
  • A loved one dealing with the traumatic aftermath of your family member’s motorcycle crash.

How Can I Get Help Recovering Damages After a Motorcycle Crash?

If you or a loved one has suffered PTSD after a motorcycle crash, call Max Meyers Law today at 425-242-5595. We will sit down with you and evaluate your claim for free, with no pressure or obligation. We can investigate your case, determine who caused the crash, and calculate the value of your associated damages. If you qualify for compensation, our legal team will help you file your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.