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Can you get PTSD from a Car Accident?


Car accidents are the leading cause of PTSD.

In addition to physical injuries resulting from a severe car accident, victims are at an increased risk of developing psychological problems, most commonly Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition in which many car accident victims present symptoms. According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 39.2% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD. However, these symptoms can often be overlooked or go unreported by the victims and are untreated.

st. louis woman with ptsd after car accident
The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.
Based on 81 reviews
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This attorney is very smart, very experienced, returns phone calls and knows the answers when asked. One call and I knew this was a great law firm for auto accidents.
Response from the owner: Our law firm appreciates this. This is a comment we get from so many people who call…”none of the lawyers we called told me all the things that you did.” Whether we take a car accident case or not, helping people is a good thing.
5 Star Lawyer for sure! Best you will find in Saint Louis.
Response from the owner: Thanks for the 5 Star Rating. Reviews like this are great. Injury victims quickly figure out the TV advertisers are not good. We work hard at being the best we can be and it reflects in our representation of car accident victims.
Watch this lawyer in action. Was way better than all the others. Get this lawyer for an automobile accident for sure.
Response from the owner: Thanks for the recommendation. Besides doing cases, our attorneys train for this. Hard work, case knowledge and technique is key to success in car accident litigation.
Very pleased with The Hoffmann Law Firm. Lawyers are attentive, friendly and go the distance to force the settlement you want. The TV lawyers recommend low offers. This law firm gets the maximum.
Response from the owner: We get calls from car accident victims that had to fire the TV lawyers that they hired. They give the same two reasons: 1) they never spoke to a lawyer at the Big TV law firms, only a paralegal, and 2) the paralegal recommended they accept a low offer. At our law firm, you only talk to the lawyer and if an offer is low we tell you to sue. Thanks!
You will love this car accident lawyer.
Response from the owner: You are the best! Thanks for the review. Our attorneys work hard but it all starts with a great client.
Several lawyers said to call this lawyer because he is the best. You will appreciate this law firm. Helped with the injury and property claims. Attentive and knowledgeable. Great reputation in St Louis.
Response from the owner: Thanks Lexi. Our #1 source of cases is other lawyers referring us cases that are too big for them to handle.
Would use this accident law firm. Best in Saint Louis. Highly rated and it shows. After one phone call, you just know this attorney is better. 5 Stars!!
Response from the owner: Thanks for recommending our lawyers in St Louis. There is a major difference in lawyers as you well know.
Great law firm thanks Leah for the referral
Response from the owner: Appreciate you recommending our law firm. Car accident litigation is all we do and specializing allows us to focus.
Car accident lawyers on tv are not good . Get this attorney ! He is a pro !!
Response from the owner: Thanks Nathan. TV lawyers market for car accidents, use paralegals instead of lawyers and give their employees settlement quotas hence forcing cheap settlements. At our law firm, you get a lawyer who keeps pushing forward for more.
A+ attorney. Smart. Helpful. Great for automobile accident cases. Located in saint louis, missouri. Use him!
Response from the owner: Thanks. Car accident cases are difficult without the right attorney and great clients. Much appreciated.
Quality lawyer. Best law firm for a car accident. Advice was way better than other lawyers I called in St. Louis. Helped with property and injury.
Response from the owner: Thanks. The TV lawyer advertisers are just car accident settlement mills. As soon as people call a real attorney, they always tell us how much better and more helpful we were. Appreciate this.
Get this lawyer if you have an automobile accident. Simply the best!
Response from the owner: Thanks Lizzy. Recommendations from other is the best way to find a car accident attorney.
This lawyer is big time. Smooth. The other lawyers on the other side were not nearly as good as this attorney. I recommend friends in St Louis to him for accident injuries and they all say the same thing…”that lawyer is great.”
Response from the owner: Very nice of you to say. Our lawyers work hard on auto accident cases.
Family used this car accident attorney after a crash. Located in St Louis. This lawyer answers the phone and will walk you through the process. Knows his stuff!
Response from the owner: Taking calls, going over the car accident injury and property process is important. Clients that call always say we are the only lawyers that explained everything. Much appreciated.
Tried the lawyers on TV. They were not good. Hired this car accident lawyer instead because he had great reviews. The reviews are correct. This attorney is as good as they get. He does big injury cases that need to be litigated.
Response from the owner: Car accident lawyers on TV do not litigate cases. It is mass production. They have quotas. Local attorneys are best on auto accidents.
Very very good at injury claims for car wrecks. Use this St Louis attorney. Two thumbs up!
Response from the owner: Thanks for the review! All we do is accidents. When you specialize, your knowledge base and practice skills grow. Thanks!
Used this attorney for an auto accident. Highly recommend this lawyer in St. Louis. Communicates well.
Response from the owner: Communicating with clients is essential. Taking the client though the car accident claims process is important otherwise major mistakes can occur. It is an effort that we make. Thanks!
Best for car accidents in St Louis. Use this attorney.
Response from the owner: Thanks. Great clients make for great cases!
This lawyer is great for car accident injury claims. Did an uninsured motorist case. Very good attorney.
Response from the owner: Car accidents can be insured or uninsured. The claims are much different. Thanks for the review.
Great lawyer if you are in an auto accident. I recommend this attorneys office.
Response from the owner: Thanks J. Glad we got your auto accident case completed and that for telling others about our lawyers.
Very good car accident attorney. Did my and my relatives claims and paperwork. Highly recommend.
Response from the owner: Thanks for recommending our law firm on car accident cases.
Fantastic law firm, I would recommend! Received free consultation related to an auto accident when my parked car was damaged by a baseball. Very supportive advice, these guys are good!
Response from the owner: Thank you!
Recommend this attorney for auto accidents.
Response from the owner: Thanks for recommending our attorneys for an automobile accident.
Best St Louis lawyer for car accidents.
Response from the owner: Thanks Tana. Appreciate this!
Great Lawyer!!
Response from the owner: Thank you
I was in a car accident in St.Louis and hired Chris as my lawyer. He was amazing!!! He helped me every step of the way and was able to get me a great settlement!!!Highly, highly, highly recommend him!
Response from the owner: Each step is important in a car accident. Thanks for recommending us for car accidents injury claims.
If you have an auto accident and need an attorney in St Louis, I recommend Mr Hoffmann.
Response from the owner: Appreciate this James and you did great as well. Car accident claims always start with a good client.
Great car accident lawyer. Did a very good job on my injury case. Thanks!
Response from the owner: Thanks. Appreciate the compliment. All we do is car accident litigation.
Very accomplished accident attorney in Saint Louis. 5 stars for sure!
Response from the owner: Thanks
A car accident lawyer I would recommend to anyone.
Response from the owner: Thanks. That is great of you to say about our lawyers.
Great car accident attorney!!
Response from the owner: Thanks
When I had my accident he was very professional, honest and caring to me and my family it wasn't about the money it was about the care, he made sure me and my kids were took care of and I really appreciate it this is a gexcellant law firm also his secretary is the best,so I would like to say thank you chris for everything melinda .
Response from the owner: Thank you
Great car accident lawyer in St. Louis. This is a very good car accident lawyer in St. Lious. Takes phone calls. Listens. Experienced in injury litigation.
Response from the owner: Thanks Maddie. Our law firm brings experience to the table on car accident cases.
Great people, helped me through a situation over the phone. His words and advice eventually helped me in my case.
Response from the owner: Glad to hear!
Although Mr. Hoffman did not represent me in my case he was willing to take the time to get me in touch with someone who specializes in the type of incident I needed legal representation with. Attorney's such as Mr. Hoffman are difficult to find. He took personal time to keep in touch with me and give me sound legal advice and guidance. I highly recommend speaking with Mr. Hoffman if you require his services. I truly believe he is the type of person who cares and will make sure the job gets done RIGHT. Do not hesitate to contact him
Response from the owner: Anytime!
In an auto accident in St. Louis, the other car pulled out and hit us. The collision was very bad. We were all injured and used this attorney. He is very experienced in handling injury claims and got a great settlement after filing a lawsuit for us. 5 Stars!
Response from the owner: Thanks Ms. Santoni. Side impact car accidents are some of the worst our lawyers see. We have to file lawsuits on nearly every case because insurance companies deny almost every claim, but I am glad we got yours resolved. I appreciate you recommending our lawyers and giving us a 5 Star rating.
My daughter and I were in an car accident. We for both injured badly. After I finally got out of the hospital, I started looking for lawyers in Saint Louis and found this attorney who does accident and injury claims. It said their attorney would answer 24 hours a day. I called their law firm at 10 p.m. and a injury lawyer answered. He was polite, knowledgeable, and advised me of what needed to be done for myself and my daughter regarding the car accident. I hired them to do or auto accident case. They kept me well informed during the car accident case in Saint Louis County Court. I was well prepared for depositions. He help with everything. I got a good settlement as did my daughter for our injuries. Although the car accident was scary, it was bearable having a good helpful attorney on our side. I highly recommend this Saint Louis car accident law firm. Their attorneys and lawyers are great. Highly recommended
Response from the owner: Happy to help.
The Chris Hoffman law firm takesgreat care of all my legal needs. They are caring and personal and will fight for what you need. I highly recommend them. You will be very satisfied and know he got you the best deal available.
Response from the owner: Great cleints are the start to pursuing any legal case and you are the best! Thanks for the recommendation Barbara!
A true professional in terms of car accident cases. I definitely recommend this lawyer for any injury after a St. Louis accident. Very good at what these attorneys do!
Response from the owner: Thank you very much for such a great review. Our attorneys work hard at providing great service. Car accident cases are fought by insurance companies from the property damage through the personal injury claim. This forces people to get local lawyers to do their claims. Missouri and Saint Louis, in particular, is known for accident claim denial even against your own insurance carrier. Thanks again!
You will not find better attorneys for a car accident in St. Louis. Very experienced. These attorneys know all the facets of an accident case and have great advice when problems come up during the injury claim.
Response from the owner: Thanks Jack. Our attorneys appreciate a great review like this. It helps car accident victims know who are the real lawyers in St. Louis who do this work versus the mere advertisers who refer victims to lawyers they have never met for a kickback. Much appreciated!
Thanks for helping with my car accident case. These lawyers are best in St. Louis.
Response from the owner: You are welcome and thanks for the review! A lot of car accident victims read these and find it helpful in choosing a lawyer for their case. Great cases always start with great clients!
great lawyer for auto accident cases . I thought this law firm did great work .Very happy with their services. I would recommend them to others.
Response from the owner: It was very nice of you to leave a review. Thanks Brenda! A good case always starts with a great client. We appreciated the recommendation. It is good to hear back from clients and have them refer us to other injury victims after a car accident. Wish you well!
This is the best choice for a car accident attorney. These lawyers get great settlements.I was recommended to them from some people I know and was happy to get a great recommendation.
Response from the owner: Our attorneys appreciate the compliment! It is great to hear we are doing well. It means a lot when you recommend our lawyers to other car accident victims. Thanks again!
Glad I switched to this auto accident lawyer. These lawyers fight hard for their injury clients. I highly recommend these lawyers.
Response from the owner: We are happy you switched as well. Good clients are the basis for a good case. Fighting to protect your rights after an accidental injury is our sole focus. Your recommendation means a lot. Thanks again for the review.
If you are injured in a car accident you should hire this attorney. This is the best legal representation. These attorneys are very professional.
Response from the owner: Thank you for reviewing our law firm and recommending our lawyers. Attorneys appreciate feedback on whether they are doing well on cases and reviews are one of the best means for this.
Response from the owner: Appreciate the Good Words! SInce our law firm started focusing exclusively on car and auto accidents, the focus had increased our knowledge and the learning curve has greatly benefited out settlement results. Specializing is key for any lawyers! All benefit from this. Thanks again for the review!

What is PTSD?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that commonly follows a traumatic event like the threat of severe injury or death to oneself or another person. When the brain cannot turn off fight or flight reactions and anxieties, the condition becomes disruptive to a person’s life, sometimes to an extraordinary degree that can be just as impactful as a physical injury.

Symptoms of PTSD

After an auto accident, symptoms of PTSD can be present as:

  • Persistent thoughts about the accident
  •  Psychologically re-experiencing the accident
  •  Feeling compelled to avoid activities that the brain associates with the accident.
  •  A feeling of detachment or numbness or increased physical arousal that is disruptive.

Can You Get PTSD From a Minor Car Accident?

Anyone who has been involved in a traumatic event, such as a car accident, is at risk of suffering from PTSD. While severe accidents can be particularly traumatic, even seemingly “minor” car accidents can result in PTSD.

How can PTSD affect your life?

PTSD does not look the same for every person suffering from it. Some individuals may have bad dreams; some may have hallucinations; some may get crippling anxiety around crowds of people, while others have vivid, uncontrollable flashbacks which force them to relive the traumatic accident. In rare cases, the paranoid ideations people experience can cause people to want to hurt themselves.

Studies suggest that around 40 percent of people who suffer from a traumatic event develop PTSD symptoms, and about 6 percent of the population of the United States will have PTSD at some point in their life. Women have PTSD more often than men, and people who already suffer from depression are more likely to develop PTSD.

Treatment for PTSD After a Car Accident

Because PTSD can differ from patient to patient, doctors must tailor treatment to the individual. Treatments can include therapy and medication or a combination of the two. While some cases of PTSD can be resolved more quickly than others, it is not unusual for treatment to be ongoing and weeks, if not months.

What to do if you think you have PTSD

If you have been in a traumatic auto accident and believe you might have PTSD, you should speak with a medical professional as soon as possible. Updating your doctor about your psychological and emotional state is as important as informing them of your physical well-being. Additionally, if you eventually plan to seek compensation or file a lawsuit relating to the accident, all of your injuries must be well documented, including PTSD.

Can I Get Compensation for PTSD and Mental Health Issues Caused by a Car Accident?

Yes. Typically, compensation for PTSD and other mental health issues and trauma is awarded to you as part of your “general compensation” package after a car accident. 

However, it can be more challenging to prove PTSD than a severe physical injury, such as a broken bone or whiplash. You must definitively prove your diagnosis, usually with the help of a mental health professional, and confirm that the PTSD was caused directly by the car accident.

Mental and psychological damage is more difficult to prove in a court of law, so you will benefit significantly from the help of an experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve.

Combining With a Physical Injury

PTSD often occurs in combination with a physical injury in a car accident. When this happens, the personal injury process may be more straightforward and increase your chances of successfully receiving damages for PTSD. You can still pursue benefits on the grounds of PTSD alone.

Medical Bills Related to PTSD

You cannot diagnose yourself with PTSD, at least not in the eyes of the law. The first expense you will accrue from PTSD is medical bills. The reason is that you must see a mental health professional to diagnose your issue, and then you will incur costs for treatment. This might mean medication and regular trips to a therapist, both of which are costly.

Lost Wages and PTSD

Your PTSD might get so severe that you cannot work. This effect is especially prevalent for people who work in the driving industry. A traumatic car accident might make you terrified of getting in a car again, decreasing your earning power. You can also lose wages in other sectors, as driving and other activities might trigger your symptoms.

Expert Witness Testimony

A factor you should consider when choosing a doctor is whether or not they are comfortable testifying on your behalf. You’ll need to prove your condition to the opposing party and, if required, to a judge in court. A written note might not be enough in these situations, so working with a mental health professional representing you in court as an expert witness is best.

doctor looking at brain MRI


Car accidents are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The symptoms of TBI include irregular breathing, dizziness, lack of coordination, poor balance, and reduced endurance. A new study has shown that some signs may make it challenging to diagnose TBI, especially if the person has been through a traumatic event in the past. The study shows that symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and TBI could be similar. A traumatic brain injury can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including work, school, and relationships.

Overlapping Symptoms of PTSD and TBI

PTSD and TBI both affect the brain; however, one is a result of a traumatic injury, and the other is a result of a traumatic event. A recent study published in the Journal Psych Central has revealed some startling similarities between the symptoms of both PTSD and TBI. These symptoms include reckless or aggressive behavior and aggression.

The potential for confusion between the diagnoses is relatively high, especially if the person has suffered both a traumatic event and a traumatic injury. In such cases, doctors may misread the signs of a traumatic brain injury. When a person reports overlapping symptoms, it can lead to a misdiagnosis, and a doctor may provide the wrong type of treatment for the condition, leading to further complications.

TBI Patients at High Risk of PTSD

According to research, those who suffer from TBI are more likely to suffer from PTSD as well. TBI sufferers may not get a PTSD diagnosis when needed. This can lead to no treatment or the wrong treatment.

Why You Need to Be Careful

The unfortunate truth about PTSD is that it often takes months or years to develop. Furthermore, it might present itself early, but you could discount it as chronic anxiety and not realize it is a more severe condition until later. This is one of the primary dangers of PTSD because people often settle their cases before they ever start affecting them. The best defense against this issue is watching out for signs of the disorder and taking them seriously if they are present.

Seek Legal Help from a St. Louis Accident Lawyer

Physical pain and injuries are relatively easy to recognize and accept due to a car accident. Proving mental anxiety is complex and may require testimony from family and friends who knew the plaintiff before the event. Consult with a car accident attorney if someone you love has developed a significant change in behavior since their car accident. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be just as debilitating as a broken bone. The patient deserves to be treated for it, and the liable driver should be responsible for compensating for that.

There is a thin line that separates PTSD and TBI. Severe car accident victims can suffer traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Getting the correct diagnosis is extremely important, not just to receive the proper treatment but also to make a compensation claim. Legal issues surrounding TBI and PTSD can be complex.

If you or your loved ones are experiencing significant psychological trauma after a severe car accident in St. Louis, get help from an experienced lawyer immediately. An experienced St. Louis car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you are legally entitled to and protect you from the insurance company’s tactics to minimize your claim.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

Updated: June 11, 2024