Coping With the Aftermath of a Car Accident

A car accident can have an enormous impact on your life, both the immediate and long-term aftermath of the trauma. There are many ways in which you can support yourself to cope appropriately, as well as seeking help from others to do so. Continue reading for some of our suggestions.


Immediate Actions

Immediately after a traumatic event, such as a car accident, it can be tough to think with a clear mind. We may be injured and in need of medical attention. We may be reliving the event and struggling to remember what the usual protocol is.

Contacting the emergency services is absolutely the first thing that you should do. The likelihood is if there were witnesses that someone else will have done this for you, but it is always best to check. Next, ensure that you are fit and well in the present. If you have any cuts, bruises, whiplash or burns, it is best to find somewhere safe to sit and wait until the paramedics arrive to check you over. The temptation will be to get on with exchanging insurance details with the other party if indeed another vehicle was involved. However, you must always put your health first. Do remember that, even if you feel ok in the here and now, injuries and pain can present themselves later once the adrenaline rush has subsided.

If you have managed to escape physically unscathed and are feeling up to it, speak to the other driver, if there is one. Even if you feel that they were the cause of the crash or vice versa, avoid apportioning blame in an angry way. This will not achieve anything except making one party feel more guilt than they likely already do. Do exchange contact and insurance details, which will be vital when you need to claim.

Next Steps

As soon as you are feeling able, contact your insurance company and explain what happened, providing the necessary details. The process of claiming can take a while, depending on the individual circumstances. However, if your policy allows a courtesy car, it is essential to get that sorted as soon as possible.

You may feel as though you do not wish to step inside a vehicle for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, putting off the inevitable can lead to the process taking longer. Try to get back behind the wheel as early as you can. If you were injured in the collision, this might take time as you may be facing both physical and emotional barriers. If possible, get a friend to travel with you. Sometimes, having a slight distraction can be useful.

Alternatively, if you feel that your confidence in your own driving has been weakened, it may be a good idea to speak to a local driving instructor. Having a few confidence-building lessons may be just what you need to overcome anxiety. Knowing that you are doing everything right can help to put your mind at ease and increase your self-esteem.

The physical recovery can take a while and in recuperating, financial hardship can be yet another unwanted and unexpected side effect. Seeking professional legal advice from a reputable practice, such as Kaufman & McPherson, can help with the money side of matters. They can support you to get the most from your insurance company and indeed seek compensation towards the cost of lost earning or medical bills, for example. It is never easy to recover from the effects of a car accident. However, knowing that you have someone experienced and ready to fight your corner is half the battle.

The majority of people find that the negative feelings relating to the crash will diminish over time: the fear, anxiety, shock, panic, nerves. However, if you find that you are still suffering from these on a large scale some months after the crash, you may have something called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Years ago, this was known as shell shock due to the high number of soldiers returning from war who would be unable to simply shake off these emotions. Of course, war is traumatic, but there are many other occasions where you could be feeling similar things.

If you are concerned that your emotional state is still fragile and you might be suffering from PTSD, the best thing to do is talk to a trained, experienced professional. They will be able to offer the best course of action and support you in healing to allow you to access life as you used to in the future. Of course, you will always have the memories and associations in some way of the crash. However, on the whole, life will be easier.

Aside from the professional help, you can do other things to help alleviate the anxiety. First of all, try exercising when you are physically ready. This can help with the release of endorphins, which are a natural feel good hormone. Exercise could provide the pick-me-up that you desperately crave. If high energy gym classes are not to your taste, try a gentle jog or even a brisk walk around the block a few times a week. Yoga and Pilates can also provide you with the opportunity to stretch and relax at the same time.

Re-establishing your daily routine can also be a useful measure to adopt. The quicker things go back to normal, the easier life becomes for many people. Of course, if you are requiring significant medical intervention, it can be challenging to resume everything, especially work. However, small steps will still help. Do not lock yourself away, though you may be tempted to do so. See friends and family on a regular basis, and talk to them about how you are feeling. Although some people may wish to avoid the subject altogether, doing so can generally cause there to be an elephant in the room. The accidental mention of the crash can, therefore, become even more of a shock and have a negative impact on the mood within the room.

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