The full impact of a car accident isn’t always obvious in the aftermath of the event.
Up to 50 million people are injured in vehicular accidents every year. Many suffer from physical or mental effects for a long time afterward. If you’ve experienced an accident, it’s important to understand the challenges ahead of you as you move on with your life.
Below, we’ve put together some tips for dealing with the mental and physical impact after the crash.
Get a Physical Assessment
In the immediate aftermath of a crash, it’s important to get yourself checked by a physician.
If you experience a severe injury, you should head to the hospital immediately. Failing to deal with the physical effects of a crash could leave you with bigger problems down the line.
Not all physical effects of a car accident are overt. A physician can help you determine if you’re suffering from a more subtle aftereffect, such as whiplash or concussion.
It’s better to be overcautious about potential injury. Our bodies don’t always do a good job of telling us when something is wrong. And in the wake of an accident, shock and adrenaline can mask larger problems.
Take the Time to Heal
If you do suffer injuries from your accident, don’t rush the healing process.
The human body needs time to repair itself. In many cases, you’ll also need to take things easy or risk further damage. While it might go against your instincts, it’s usually more important to rest up than it is to “walk it off”.
Stay well fed to promote healing. If your doctor has recommended physiotherapy, stick to the regimen. Be sure to follow any advice your doctor gives you, even if you find yourself frustrated.
For insurance purposes, it pays to collect the details of your crash.
Be sure to make a record of visits to your doctor and hospital, and get access to your medical records so you know where you stand on your insurance.
Collecting details of the crash could help your chances of getting a payout from your vehicle insurer to cover the costs of a new car.
These details will also come into play if you pursue legal action. Having a thorough, documented account of the accident’s impact on your life could be what you need to ensure success for your case.
Collecting these details will also help you emotionally repair. You’ll give your mind something to focus on, and it will help you re-establish a sense of control you may have lost as a result of the accident.
Consider Legal Action
Taking legal action can help you access compensation for mental and physical problems stemming from the crash. They can also give you a sense of justice and the closure you need to move on.
Car accident lawyers can take on a range of advocate duties for you, such as recovering lost wages or deferring your medical bills – along with others you can view here.
Working with a legal advocate will alleviate stress, giving you a better chance to recover in mind and body. It’s also another way you can reassert control over your life, which can help manage anxiety or depression.
Many legal practices offer free advice, so you won’t have anything to lose by contacting them.
You’ll need to monitor your condition in the months following your accident. Physical and mental ailments might not appear obvious at first.
Watch out for any new aches and pains, or other symptoms like a loss of sensation in extremities. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor and explain the history.
Emotional problems are often more insidious. Pay attention to changes in your own behavior, even if it’s something simple like difficulty sleeping. This could suggest you have unprocessed emotions stemming from your accident.
Listen to the people around you, as well. Pay attention if someone tells you that your emotional responses or habits have changed. They could be a sign of deeper problems. If your mental health has suffered due to your accident, then pay close attention when others give you feedback – you might not be able to trust your own judgment.
See a Therapist
Getting over a car accident can be emotionally challenging. Anxiety after a car accident is common, as are nightmares and even PTSD.
If you find yourself suffering from negative emotional experiences, consider contacting a therapist. They can help unpack some of your emotions, along with referring you to support systems that can help alleviate anxiety.
Seeing a therapist will give you a safe environment to work through the emotions of your accident. It’s not unusual to experience feelings of frustration or anger, particularly if you’re still healing. Relaying these to your therapist can help you deal with them in a healthy way.
Therapies like CBT can help you manage anxiety and return to driving. Your therapist might also put you in touch with support groups of individuals who have been through the same experience.
Get Back In the Saddle
Fear of driving after an accident is common. For many, it’s a frightening reminder of the control they lack over other drivers or even their own body.
That’s why it’s important to return to driving only when you’re prepared for it. Working with a therapist can help you identify when you’re ready. They’ll also give you tips for easing yourself back into it.
Try to start small, as if you were learning to drive again. Regaining a sense of control is a vital part of getting over driving anxieties following an accident. You’ll soon discover that nothing has fundamentally changed about driving, and with some luck, you’ll be back on the road in due course.
Dealing with the Impact After the Crash
Dealing with the impact after the crash can be an ongoing struggle. These tips should help you prepare for the possibilities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from professionals and those around you, as these will make the recovery process easier.
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