Truck Accident Multimillion-Dollar Settlement.

"M.A.," a 30-year-old man, was driving to work in New Mexico. Suddenly a commercial truck veered across the center line and struck his vehicle head on. M.A. died at the scene. The McNeely Stephenson firm was hired shortly after the crash to represent the family of the deceased.

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PTSD from Accidents in Indianapolis

Accidents and other traumatic events upset our peace of mind as well as hurt our bodies.


It’s natural to feel shaken and confused, to cry at inopportune moments, and to feel physically ill, perhaps nauseous. Such reactions are part of the “fight-or-flight” response our bodies are programmed to feel when in the midst of a crisis. In fact, this response is a healthy reaction meant to protect us from harm. But when someone is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the normal reaction becomes changed or distorted, so that they continue to have abnormal reactions long after the crisis, when they are no longer in danger.

The exaggerated stress response some people experience after an accident is one of the least understood kinds of medical trauma. With over six million people injured or killed in car accidents every year, the possibility of PTSD for many accident survivors is significant.

How Does a Normal Response Differ from PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress, or PTS, is the normal response to a shocking, upsetting event. After an accident or other stressful situation, it is perfectly natural to feel:

  • Numb (or, conversely, to cry a lot)
  • Emotionally out-of-control or “crazy”
  • Fearful often, especially in situations that remind you of the stressful event
  • Like you are unable to stop thinking about the event
  • Distracted and unable to concentrate
  • Physically “shaky,” with a racing heart.

If you recently suffered from a traumatic event, rest assured that such symptoms usually fade after no more than a few weeks. Your body and brain are reacting normally.

However, if the reactions continue after more than a couple of weeks, or become worse, or you have entirely new symptoms, you may have gotten stuck in post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Most people need help at this point in order to deal with the disorder and move back into their normal lives.

PTSD symptoms do not always occur after only a few weeks. For some people, months can pass before the tell-tale signs appear.

Risk Factors and PTSD

Anyone can develop post-traumatic stress disorder after a serious accident. But some factors make it more likely that you will progress from a “normal response” (PTS) to the disorder. These factors are:

  • Other trauma earlier in life, such as abuse
  • Lack of a good support system
  • Having a job that increases exposure to trauma, such as for military or emergency personnel
  • Inherited mental health risks, such as for anxiety or depression
  • Existing mental health issues.

Researchers are working on ways to determine the importance of various risk factors.

PTSD After an Accident

In the United States, the leading cause of PTSD is vehicular accidents. Research demonstrates that around nine percent of car accident survivors get stuck in their stress responses and develop the disorder. Some aspects that are specific to a traumatic event make it more likely that a survivor will develop PTSD:

  • How much the accident triggered fears of dying
  • Others dying in the accident, especially loved ones
  • Severe physical trauma, such as amputation, or anything that requires surgery or creates significant pain
  • The length of time it takes to recover fully.

PTSD can also show up in people who were not actually in the accident, such as in family members of anyone injured or deceased, or in first responders and witnesses.

PTSD Differences between Adults and Children

Adults often reveal PTSD in three main sets of symptoms:

  • They repeatedly re-experience the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks that often have physical symptoms.
  • They go to great lengths to avoid situations that might even remotely remind them of the trauma, and frequently feel dead to pleasure and happiness.
  • They remain on “red alert,” reacting to situations as if they are constantly in danger. This set of symptoms is known as hyperarousal and hypervigilance.

On the other hand, because children have limited abilities to process severe trauma, PTSD in children can show itself in a different set of symptoms:

  • Seemingly afraid to spend time apart from the parent
  • Having a regression of learned behaviors; for example, a toilet-trained child that begins having “accidents”
  • Nightmares and other sleep problems
  • New fears and phobias
  • While playing, repeatedly acting out elements of the traumatic experience
  • New, sudden aggression towards others
  • Physical pain that appears to have no cause.

How Is PTSD Treated?

For adults, treatment of PTSD often involves the following:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on the trauma in order to desensitize the person
  • Therapy that is family-focused
  • Medication, such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicine.

For children with PTSD, play therapy and art therapy helps them unlock their feelings.


real-life cases

“B.K.” was driving on a two-lane road one Sunday afternoon with his mother in the front seat and his brother and sister-in-law in the back seat when his life was forever changed. B.K. was struck head on by D.C.

D.C. had spent the day drinking with a friend and had stopped at a restaurant less than five miles from the point of the accident where D.C. had been served several drinks. D.C.’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

As a result of the terrible wreck, B.K. received devastating injuries, which included multiple broken bones, facial fractures, and loss of vision. B.K.’s mother, brother, and sister-in-law were all killed in the accident.

As one would anticipate, D.C. had virtually no insurance. Stephenson, through his thorough and detailed investigation, was able to prepare claims against the restaurant and those that provided the alcohol.

Stephenson pursued dram shop claims against those responsible CASE SUMMARY

D.H. was a competitive bicyclist who was riding in preparation for a cross-country fundraising ride. In the spring of 2010, D.H. was riding across an old steel-grated deck bridge in Shelby County when he hit a hole in the bridge and flipped over the handlebars of his bike. The impact to the bridge decking caused severe injuries to his face, teeth, tongue, and elbow.

Through the investigation, they were able to learn as early as 1998, the bridge inspection reports showed the bridge in question needed to be replaced. The county never authorized additional inspections. The county obtained $844,000 in funding for the replacement of the bridge in 2000, but the Historical Society and adjacent property owners wanted the bridge repaired rather than replaced.

This crash could have been avoided if the inspectors and county had done their jobs. CASE SUMMARY

Our client (“D.W.”) was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. D.W. received broken arms and legs, as well as internal injuries. Stephenson was retained by D.W.’s personal counsel to prepare and try the case. Discovery determined that the UDF driver had multiple driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries. Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case.

The defendant was correct; the verdict was twice that amount. CASE SUMMARY

Serving Accident Victims in Indiana Since 1982

Shelbyville, IN Injury Lawyer

When you are considering hiring a car accident lawyer, you should look for an attorney who will give you competent and compassionate representation with a “client first” approach. That’s exactly what you’ll get with proven advocate attorney Mike Stephenson. His entire legal team is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

If you think you might have a case, keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike Stephenson at 855-206-2555 or contact us for immediate help. McNeely Stephenson. Trusted advisors. Proven advocates.

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