Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can affect people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. One such event that can lead to PTSD is a commercial truck accident. In North Dakota, where the trucking industry plays a vital role in the state’s economy, understanding the connection between PTSD and commercial truck accidents is crucial.
North Dakota is home to a large number of commercial trucking companies, which transport goods across the state and beyond. The state’s trucking industry is vital to the economy, providing jobs for thousands of North Dakotans and contributing to the state’s overall economic growth.
However, the high volume of commercial truck traffic on North Dakota’s roads also increases the risk of truck accidents. According to data from the North Dakota Department of Transportation, there were 734 total crashes involving heavy trucks in 2021. Of those, 273 crashes resulted in serious injuries, and 11 were fatal.
Commercial truck accidents can significantly affect the lives of those involved. Victims of truck accidents may suffer serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and severe burns. In some cases, truck accidents can be fatal, leaving families – of truckers and other drivers alike – to cope with the loss of a loved one.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
While physical injuries are often the most visible result of a commercial truck accident, the psychological impact can be just as significant. Many people who have been involved in a traumatic event, such as a truck accident, may experience symptoms of PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation. People with PTSD may also avoid situations that remind them of the traumatic event, which can affect their daily lives and ability to function.
In the case of commercial truck accidents, the trauma of the event can lead to the development of PTSD for drivers, passengers, truckers, and anyone else who may have been involved. A truck accident’s loud noise and sudden impact can be jarring, and the aftermath can be chaotic and overwhelming. Victims of truck accidents may also struggle with feelings of guilt, especially if the accident involves fatalities.
The effect of PTSD on commercial truck accident victims
The impact of PTSD on commercial truck accident victims can be severe and even disabling. People with PTSD may struggle to cope with the emotional aftermath of the accident, which can affect their relationships, work, and overall quality of life. A person can suffer PTSD from witnessing a traumatic event, and many trucker drivers – even those who sustain no injuries at all – will feel the effects of what they witnessed for a long time. If you drive for a living, PTSD may affect your ability to get back to work and support yourself and/or your family.
PTSD can also lead to physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive problems, and chronic pain. Victims of truck accidents who develop PTSD may also experience other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
It’s important to note that PTSD can affect anyone, regardless of their age, gender, or background. However, certain factors may increase the risk of developing PTSD after a traumatic event. These risk factors can include the severity of the trauma, the victim’s proximity to the event, and the victim’s level of emotional support after the event.
This last issue – that of support – can be particularly tough on truck drivers, as this 2016 analysis from The Atlantic reveals:
Approximately 94 percent of drivers are men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and men are less likely than women to seek treatment for emotional distress. Research has also found that lower-income working-class Americans don’t seek mental-health care as readily as members of the middle and upper classes.
Even when truckers do want mental-health care, though, the demands of the job can make it impossible. For one thing, long-haul truckers are almost never at home—in some cases, they spend only a handful of days each year not on the road. They also tend to have very little control over their schedules. One trucker friend recently complained that, though she informed her dispatcher far in advance of the need to be at home for a crucial medical appointment, when that time came, she was still stuck out on the road and had to cancel the appointment. If acute care isn’t valued and made possible, mental-health care and preventive health care won’t be, either.
Treatment options for PTSD
Fortunately, there are treatment options available for people with PTSD. The most effective treatment for PTSD is often a combination of therapy and medication.
- Therapy can help people with PTSD process their emotions and learn coping skills to manage their symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of therapy used to treat PTSD, which focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors.
- Medication can also be effective in treating PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are commonly prescribed for people with PTSD.
- In addition to therapy and medication, self-care practices such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction techniques can also help manage PTSD symptoms.
Compensation for PTSD after a truck accident
If you or a loved one has been involved in a commercial truck accident in North Dakota and are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it’s important to seek legal help. An experienced Minot injury attorney can help you understand your rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries and emotional trauma.
In North Dakota, victims of commercial truck accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, navigating the legal process can be complex, especially if you are coping with the effects of PTSD. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the legal process and help you build a strong case for compensation. They can also work with medical professionals to document the extent of your injuries and the impact of PTSD on your daily life.
It’s important to note that North Dakota has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims, which means that there is a time limit of six years for filing a claim. If you wait too long to seek legal help, you may lose your right to pursue compensation.
In addition to seeking legal help, it’s also important to prioritize your mental health and seek treatment for PTSD. Getting the right treatment can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
If you suffered harm in a commercial truck accident, talk to the Larson Law Firm, P.C. team today. We can answer all of your questions and walk you through the legal process with confidence. Call us or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We maintain offices in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo.