Identifying PTSD symptoms in your child following an automobile accident is not easy. Here, we will show you the things to look out for.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has only recently become the subject of clinical studies. We know children who have gone through a traumatic event are just as likely as adults to suffer from PTSD. Traumatic automobile accidents are unfortunately common and often involve children.
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Will My Child Suffer PTSD After an Automobile Accident?
Some children seem to have no lasting psychological effects after an auto accident. A relatively minor accident might cause PTSD in one child but not in another. All children react differently.
The National Institute for Mental Health states that people who have PTSD often show symptoms within three months of the incident. However, in some cases, symptoms might not appear until some considerable time has passed—sometimes years.
The European Journal of Psychotraumatology found that 38.3% of children involved in a road traffic accident had PTSD afterward. This study included pedestrians and car passengers, but there is no reason to believe that the percentage would change if it only included passengers.
Symptoms of PTSD in Children to Look Out For After an Accident
PTSD can be difficult to recognize. Some, if not all, symptoms might be present in children who don’t have PTSD. Look for changes in your child’s behavior. If you have any suspicion that your child is affected, you should speak to a health professional as soon as possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that PTSD might manifest itself in the following symptoms:
- Reliving the experience (thinking about it or seeing it in their playing)
- Becoming upset at memories or reminders of the event
- Lack of positive emotions
- Angry outbursts
- Being easily startled and always looking for threats
- Sleep problems and nightmares
- Avoiding people or places involved with the accident
- Denial of the accident or feeling numb
- Acting hopeless, withdrawn, or helpless
These symptoms do not necessarily mean that your child has PTSD. They are signposts, nothing more. Other symptoms might appear that are not on our list. Again, if you have any doubts, it is best to speak with your child and a medical expert.
How Can I Help My Child After They Experience an Automobile Accident?
Most importantly, you should have your child evaluated by a qualified health professional. Other things to do as a parent or caregiver include:
- Encouraging your child to talk about their feelings and what worries them
- Avoiding putting pressure on them; they should feel comfortable and be able to talk freely without judgment or punishment
- Reassuring and ensuring they feel safe
- Making sure your child knows that they are in a supportive place where their concerns are taken seriously
You might like to have a quiet word with their teachers. Tell the school what has happened and ask them to watch your child. Be discreet about this; you don’t want your child to feel under guard or “babied,” especially if you have an older child.
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Can I Claim Compensation for My Child’s PTSD?
If a health professional has diagnosed your child with PTSD, you might be eligible for compensation. You should keep all relevant documents and contact a law firm to discuss the next steps. Our law firm is sensitive to our clients’ needs. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
The damages you could recover include the following:
You might have had to take time off to stay with your child, either nursing them through injuries or tending to their emotional needs. Your claim or judgment could cover the wages, benefits, tips, and bonuses you could have earned at work in that time.
In seeking a diagnosis and treatment for your child’s PTSD (and possible accident-related physical injuries), you could have spent quite a bit of money. You could recover reimbursement for these funds.
Reduced Earning Capacity
Your teen or adult child could have developed severe PTSD that prevents them from working. You could seek damages that cover the wages your child could have recovered if they had not been harmed by negligence.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Your child might be unable to enjoy their hobbies, attend in-person school, or socialize with their friends and peers because of their PTSD. Your financial recovery could address this intangible loss.
Pain and Suffering
The pain and suffering your child deals with does not need to go unaddressed. You could pursue a claim that assigns a value to this pain.
You could claim other losses in your car accident case. Your lawyer will explore all options for collecting financial compensation through a car accident settlement or judgment.
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Can Support Your Family at This Time
Automobile accidents are traumatic for everyone involved. Your child may display behaviors you are tempted to play down or consider a natural part of growing up. This may well be true. But in some cases, these changes in behavior might be caused by PTSD.
You should monitor your child and consult with professional health providers to identify PTSD symptoms in your child. If your child is diagnosed with PTSD due to an automobile accident, you might be entitled to legal compensation. Call George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers at (843) 779-1777 to learn more about retaining a lawyer after a car accident.