Terrifying New Orleans accident may result in PTSD for witnesses

People can develop post-traumatic stress disorder by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or tragic event.

Being involved in or witnessing a terrifying event is an upsetting and traumatic experience for most people. These incidents can include catastrophic vehicle accidents, animal attacks, robberies, domestic violence and any number of stressful, dangerous events. It is not unusual for people in New Orleans and everywhere else in the country to experience emotional repercussions in addition to the physical issues they may be dealing with after an injury.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious condition that is frequently incurred by people who see or are involved in traumatizing events. More than 7.7 million people in the country over the age of 18 are currently dealing with PTSD. Children can also develop the condition.

The Mayo Clinic states that PTSD symptoms are grouped into four main types. These include:

  • Avoidance - Victims try to avoid situations or events that remind them of the traumatic situation. This may include avoiding the location the event occurred or people who remind them of the event.
  • Intrusive memories - Memories or flashbacks of the event can occur spontaneously and are difficult for PTSD sufferers to get out of their minds.
  • Emotional reaction changes - PTSD sufferers often experience extreme emotional reactions, such as constant fear or anxiety, difficulty sleeping or concentrating and feeling jumpy.
  • Negative thinking and mood changes - People with PTSD may experience chronic depression, have a negative outlook on themselves or life and have difficulty forming and maintaining positive relationships.

The many difficult symptoms of PTSD may last for months or years following the traumatic event. Symptoms may not show up immediately, but can take several weeks or months to develop.

The costs and consequences of post-traumatic stress

Not surprisingly, PTSD can be costly in terms of therapy to help a sufferer deal with the difficult emotions and recover from the shock of a traumatic event. Chronic stress and anxiety can also result in unexpected physical symptoms, further impacting a victim's medical expenses and other losses. These may include heart disease, hypertension, obesity, chronic pain and other physical ailments.

A recent event in New Orleans this past June illustrated how traumatic a tragic event can be for people who witness it. The New Orleans Advocate reported that a pickup truck smashed through a parking garage wall at least five stories above the ground. The truck barely avoided striking pedestrians and vehicles stopped at a red light. Witnesses described seeing bystanders screaming at the scene of the accident while construction workers attempted to free the trapped driver. Unfortunately, the man was killed at the scene and it took emergency equipment to free his body. It is understandable to believe that the people who witnessed this event may develop signs of post-traumatic stress in the future.

The symptoms of PTSD can impact a person's life for a long time. Those who were involved in or witnessed an accident that was caused by someone else's negligent or malicious actions may be able to seek compensation with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Keywords: PTSD, accident, injury, car, auto, truck