We investigated the trauma narratives of 131 road traffic accident survivors prospectively, at 1 week, 6 weeks, and 3 months post-trauma. At 1 and 6 weeks, narratives of survivors with acute stress disorder (ASD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were less coherent and included more dissociation content. By 3 months, their narratives also contained more repetition, more non-consecutive chunks, and more sensory words. Traumatic brain injury was associated with a separate characteristic, confusion, at all three time points. Three aspects of narrative organisation at 1 week--repetition, non-consecutive chunks, and coherence--predicted PTSD severity at 3 months after controlling for initial symptoms. The results suggest both a strong concurrent and predictive relationship between narrative disorganisation and ASD/PTSD but that as people recover from ASD, their narratives do not necessarily become less disorganised.