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Motor vehicle accidents and PTSD: Are you fully informed?

Halifax Law Firm shines light into the darkness of PTSD

Despite the myriad ways our society is moving forward, becoming progressive and evolving, there are many areas still shrouded in shame and ignorance.

While Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) presents in an array of situations, only few are even today acknowledged as valid by the greater public. PTSD is well-understood as a tragic by-product of domestic abuse and military service but lesser known is when PTSD is incurred resulting from a motor vehicle accident.

Be it the person injured at the actions of another driver or the driver responsible for the accident, there is often trauma hiding in plain sight.

PTSD is complex, with when and how it presents in a victim as varied as the circumstances within which it develops.

Sometimes it’s a mood change or personality shift and for some victims, it is behavioral. When a motor vehicle accident happens, the physical injuries are tended to immediately and are quantifiable. However, even if there are no traumatic physical injuries, there may be devastating PTSD symptoms that go unchecked and tragically ignored. Years may pass before the trauma of any event can detected as problematic and concerning.

What is surprising and concerning is the increasing prevalence of PTSD in Canada. According to a recent study published in the National Library of Medicine, of 24 countries included in the research, the highest prevalence of PTSD was found in Canada. A stunning 9.2 percent of Canadians are expected to experience PTSD at some point in their lives.

PTSD symptoms are triggered by a person’s exposure to stressful or distressing events.

For example, people who are involved in car accidents will often suffered from PTSD symptoms in addition to their physical injuries. Where insurance benefits are involved, it is critical to not overlook such mental health consequences.

Mike Dull is a Halifax personal injury lawyer who has represented over a thousand car accident victims. “Unfortunately, the consequences of poor driving can have just as much impact on a person’s mental health as it can their physical wellbeing”, Dull says.

“Entitlement to insurance benefits is such that people dealing with PTSD symptoms after a car accident are entitled to be compensated for the same. They are entitled to receive funding for counselling and care. They are entitled to damages for the impact of their mental health on their quality of life. It is critical therefore that such symptoms not be overlooked”.

According to Statistics Canada, “almost two-thirds (64%) of Canadians reported being exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event during their life” and of Canadians who met the criteria for probable PTSD, 10% cite life-threatening illness or injury with 6% reporting situations involving sudden accidental death. Clearly, there is strong statistical evidence to support the growing appreciation for the impact of PTSD in the lives of many Nova Scotians.

Research of how PTSD manifests is ongoing and through platforms like this, the tentacles of this far-reaching traumatic disorder will hopefully find greater understanding and support.

For resources and further information from the team focused on advocating for you, visit Valent Legal.

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