Car accidents can be traumatic, deadly and life changing. Whatever has actually happened when someone has been involved in one, the future impacts can be sudden and significant.
Here are several things to help either yourself or other people cope with the aftermath of a car accident.
Straight after involvement in a car accident, there are a number of things you, or someone acting on your behalf, should do. First, it is advisable to take photos of the crash, showing where your car and other people’s vehicles were positioned, any tire marks on the road and any substantial amounts of debris. Although the police should do this, well intentioned bystanders may try to help and move things, thus showing the accident in a different light.
It is imperative for you and everyone else involved in the accident to be checked out by a medical professional. Although you may feel fit and well, unable to see any damage, it could be that the adrenalin is keeping you going, preventing you from feeling the pain you will eventually feel when it wears off. This is also important if you decide to take legal action against the other party, using someone like Accident.com.
If it was a small accident and the other party’s vehicle is drivable, they may wish to leave the scene. In this case, try hard to get their details including name, address, and car registration plate. Their insurer’s details could also prove useful.
Contacting your insurer, explaining what has happened is imperative. They will be able to help to assess the damage and decide whether the car can be repaired or must be replaced. If someone else was at fault, they will contact their insurance company to ensure that they are the ones who cover any costs.
Actions in the coming days
Whether you live alone or with others, you will likely need the support of your loved ones at this time. From being able to face standing in the kitchen to prepare your meals to being able to venture outside and carry out errands, you may need to ensure you are not alone and have someone to figuratively hold your hand, helping you through some of the darkest of days.
It may be tempting to try to avoid discussing what happened to you during the accident and the fears it has left you with. However, keeping your thoughts and feelings to yourself can be damaging to your mental health. If there were others in the vehicle with you, chat to them about how they are doing. They will understand what happened and went through the same things that you do, although in their own way of course.
Once you have recovered, you may find yourself feeling a mixture of emotions, from sad to angry, frustrated to relieved. We always advise that it is best to speak with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Their role is to support you through the legal process. They will explain to you, step by step, how things work, and they will give you professional advice on how to best navigate through the legal system. The attorney will use the evidence you can provide, such as your medical records and the photographs you took at the scene, to help build a case where they will represent you and support you to receive the compensation you deserve. Although this may take some time, it is advisable to start the ball rolling on this as soon as you can after your accident.
Having your car repaired or replaced is something you need to organize via your insurance company. However, it may be that you need to make several phone calls to chase it up.
When you are the driver of a car that has been involved in an accident, minor or major, it may feel unnerving to even consider getting back behind the wheel. However, putting it off can make this build into an even bigger deal than it really is. Grab a close friend or family member and explain how you are feeling. They may help by driving you to a quiet area, perhaps even a parking lot, and then you can take over. Driving again can remind you that while there are always dangers on the road, you are still pretty safe, and you can remember the different steps needed to get from one place to another.
Months, even years, after your accident, you may find that something happens and takes you back to that fateful day. Whether you feel it is necessary or not, you may find that speaking to a qualified counsellor will help you to come to terms with your feelings and the negative things you experienced. Processing what has happened may take longer than you hope, and that is absolutely ok. There is no time limit for coping with something as traumatic as a car accident. Unfortunately, some people develop PTSD as a result of a collision. Again, this is something that a medical professional will be able to support you with. Some people can get by with talking therapy, whereas others require medication alongside counselling that offers coping mechanisms. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this.
If your confidence in driving has taken a real knock, sometimes, just getting back behind the wheel of your car is not quite enough to get you back to your previous levels of competency, awareness and ability. It may be worth enlisting the help of a driving instructor who can go over the basics of driving again with you, taking into account the recent accident you encountered. While this does of course come at a cost, it is worth paying the price to ensure you are feeling happier and more capable driving. After all, driving is imperative for many reasons, such as visiting relatives or going on vacation.
Finally, you may wish to look into the safety of individual cars. If your previous one was completely written off as a result of the accident, thinking about how that could have been prevented may be something playing on your mind. Check out the results of cars you are interested in linked to their performance in safety tests. This can support you to find a car that may offer you more reassurance.