Legal Guide

Can You Get PTSD From A Motorcycle Accident

Everything's in slow motion as you stand up, and in your confusion, you notice your bike lying on its side. You slowly come to the realization that you have been in an accident. You have suffered extensive injuries and have to be taken to the hospital. Your bike has been totaled, and this is a devastating experience.

There were over 82,000 injuries related to motorcycle crashes in 2018, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Being involved in a motorcycle accident is a very traumatic event. Riders are more exposed, which often leads to greater injuries such as head injuries, road rash, and multiple bone fractures. Crashes can also lead to emotional trauma, known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


This life-threatening event can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. A body’s natural defense to PTSD is to go into “fight or flight mode.” It’s normal to experience painful memories, trouble with sleeping, and depression after an accident. Four common signs of this mental health issue include:

  • Physical and emotional changes to their surroundings
  • Recurring memories of the traumatizing event, which may include flashbacks and nightmares
  • Mood swings such as extreme bouts of anger and getting easily startled
  • Avoiding situations like driving or stressful situations
  • Blaming yourself and feelings of guilt
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Negative or intrusive thoughts
  • Can’t recall important details of the traumatic event

Post-traumatic stress disorder is considered a psychological health issue because the symptoms have such a tremendous effect on a person’s life. Recalling the accident can be very distressing. For example, hearing an ambulance may trigger memories of the event which lead to reliving the experience. Recovery from this type of trauma takes time.


The duration of healing from physical injuries could be months but recovery from post-traumatic stress could be longer. Post-traumatic stress disorder is preventable and treatable. A person suffering from PTSD should begin:

  • Seeking support from family and friends
  • Learn coping strategies when facing dangerous situations
  • Understanding how to act and respond to fears

Treatment for PTSD starts with a diagnosis. Psychotherapy is a common therapy along with medication to treat anxiety and depression. Some treatments include:

  • Talking about what happened
  • Visualizing the accident
  • Thinking about the traumatizing episode
  • Teaching skills to learn how to cope
  • Short-term to long-term treatment with medication

If PTSD is left untreated this can lead to serious long-term health issues such as severe depression. A therapist can help give guidance in navigating this in learning to cope with this trauma.

Getting Back On A Motorcycle

Being able to ride again is instrumental. It’s important to take some time to recover from post-traumatic stress as you receive treatment. Here are some strategies to help yourself:

  • Follow your treatment plan with your healthcare provider
  • Exercise and practice mindfulness
  • Get proper nutrition
  • Try to set and keep up goals
  • Spend time talking with family and friends about your experience
  • Expect that your recovery takes time

Besides receiving treatment for your physical and emotional injuries, seeking help from an experienced accident lawyer in Wyoming area may be beneficial with recovering losses suffered from pain and suffering so you can get back on the bike.

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