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Are Individuals with Mental Illness More Likely to Get into Accidents?

Car accidents take an immense toll on families and individuals each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, car crashes in 2014 resulted in 18 billion dollars in lifetime medical expenses for victims and their families. The CDC notes that 75% of these expenses are incurred during the first 18 months following a car accident. Car crashes are the main cause of injuries of children and adolescents. Researchers have long noted the connection between distracted driving, drinking and driving, fatigue and driving, and even the use of certain over the counter medications and driving. Now, researchers are investigating the role that PTSD and depression has on adolescent drivers.

Research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, and later published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress has found that adolescents who have experienced a motor vehicle crash are also more likely to report having experienced violent events in their lifetimes, and have higher rates of PTSD, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse than those adolescents with no car accident history. The researchers found that higher rates of car accidents were actually recorded for younger adolescents who also suffered from depression or PTSD. Ultimately, alcohol abuse was seen as the strongest correlating risk factor leading to car accidents among both older and younger adolescents. Researchers studied children who were already suffering from PTSD before experiencing a car accident.

Researchers noted that the cumulative effects of prior traumatic events in addition to a car accident could worsen already existing mental health issues and lead to greater depressive episodes in adolescents in the future.

Car accidents have an effect on the whole person—body and mind. In addition to medical and rehabilitative expenses related to physical trauma, many victims of car accidents suffer from PTSD or other emotional issues following a car accident. Children and adolescents may be particularly vulnerable victims. Yet, mental health concerns should be addressed for all victims of car accidents.

Yet, is mental illness a strong risk factor for car accidents? The research published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress is the first of its kind. It’s likely that more research will need to be done in this area to determine whether mental illness has a strong correlation with car accidents. One question that may need to be asked in future studies is whether PTSD symptoms or the symptoms of major depressive episodes can distract drivers sufficiently enough to lead to an increased accident risk.

Car accident and personal injury victims in Charleston, South Carolina face many unique challenges, including medical expenses, long-term mental health fees, and missed time at work. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and have suffered a personal injury, it can sometimes be difficult to determine how much compensation you deserve for your case. Mr. Drescher at Drescher Law Firm, L.L.C. is a personal injury lawyer who focuses on serious injury or wrongful death cases. As a result, the firm has over 18 years of experience reviewing the details of individual cases to ensure the best possible outcome for personal injury victims and their families.


Personal Injury Attorney Profile

Scott Drescher, Personal Injury Lawyer in Charleston SC. imageMr. Drescher's knowledge and experience in the field of personal injury and wrongful death law have made him an outstanding personal injury and wrongful death attorney in South Carolina. He understands the thinking process of juries, due in part to his educational background in psychology and sociology. He is experienced in trying large civil cases, which has helped him become a very successful trial attorney in Charleston and the surrounding areas.
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