Identifying Child PTSD Symptoms Following an Automobile Accident

Automobile accidents can be incredibly terrifying experiences for any person involved, regardless of their age. However, while we understand that vehicle accidents can lead to significant emotional and psychological trauma for victims, it is becoming increasingly clear that children can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of an accident and their subsequent injuries. If your child has been involved in a vehicle accident in Florida, you need to ensure that they receive proper treatment for all their injuries, including their physical injuries as well as any psychological or emotional trauma they may have sustained. Symptoms of PTSD vary from one person to the next, and here we will discuss how these symptoms may manifest in your child after an accident occurs.

Understanding PTSD

PTSD is something that many people talk about or that we see in TV shows and movies, but it is not really understood. Many people associate this with those who served in the military, but the reality is that any person who has experienced significant trauma can suffer from signs and symptoms of PTSD.

When we turn to the definition available from the American Psychiatric Association, we can see that PTSD is defined as “a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.”

Child PTSD Symptoms After a Vehicle Accident

It can be challenging to recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD in adults, and recognizing them in children is even harder. Signs of PTSD manifest themselves in different ways and children, and these signs and symptoms will vary depending on the age of the child. Studies have shown that there are various red flags that could indicate that a child is suffering from emotional and psychological harm after a traumatic event, including vehicle accidents.

  • Ages 5 and below. The signs and symptoms of PTSD in this age group often include regression to earlier behaviors, such as fear of darkness, separation anxiety, thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, etc.
  • Ages 6 through 11. For this age group, the symptoms of PTSD can include an inability to pay attention, sleep problems or nightmares, complaints of headaches or stomach pain, changes in behavior, school issues, extreme withdrawal, disruptive behavior, etc.
  • Ages 12 through 17. For children in this age group, the signs and symptoms of PTSD are often combined with the changes that the child is going through due to puberty and hormones. This can exasperate the following issues: nightmares, risk-taking behaviors, changes in usual behavior, complaints of headaches or stomach ache, problems in school, severe depression, or even suicidal thoughts.

In all age groups, experts say that PTSD victims can relive vehicle accidents in their minds. In some cases, victims are triggered by certain places or events related to the vehicle accident.

Receiving Compensation for a Child’s PTSD Treatment

Under Florida law, this is a “no-fault” insurance state when it comes to car accidents. This means that every person involved in a vehicle accident will turn to their own insurance carrier for injury coverage unless certain thresholds are met. In order to receive treatment for a child’s care after a vehicle accident occurs, most individuals will need to turn to their personal injury protection (PIP) medical coverage that is required of all drivers in the state. PIP Coverage in Florida can be used to cover a range of necessary and reasonable medical care for both physical and emotional injuries for a child involved in a vehicle accident. This could include coverage that the child needs for counseling or therapy related to PTSD.