There are few things as scary as being in a car crash, whether as a pedestrian or a driver. It is the unexpected bolt from the blue we all dread, and it holds the power to upend so many of the things that are important to us. If you’ve recently been through this experience, here are a few tips from someone who has been there.
First, make sure you put your health first. Whether the car crash was a major event with police and emergency medical services in attendance, or what felt like a minor fender bender, it is worth having a medical professional assess your condition and take imaging of the areas where you were injured. Often, the effects of an injury that appears minor at first will not be felt for some time. It becomes more difficult to tie an injury to an accident if you don’t document it as soon as possible after the accident. This is definitely one of those times when it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if you’re feeling okay, get checked out by a medical professional.
Deal With Insurance
Second, if your involvement in the accident in any way involves your insurance (for example, if you were the driver of your own vehicle, which you pay to insure) be sure to report the accident to your insurance in a timely way. If you get an attorney (more on that below), be sure to give them all the information to share with your insurance company. It’s important to give your insurance company the facts they need both to cover any claims you have, and also to deal with anyone else involved in the crash, be they passengers in your vehicle, in another vehicle, or pedestrians. Get any police reports to them as soon as you can, as well as all information you gathered about the accident, such as insurance information of others involved, photos, etc. The more on top of this you are at the outset, the smoother the process is likely to go. If your injury is too great to manage, ask a spouse, trusted family member, or friend to manage this for you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Auto accidents can be traumatizing even when there is no injury. Add a physical impairment to that and you can quickly become overwhelmed. This is no time to try to do it all yourself. If you’re hurt, rest and recover and call on your loved ones to handle daily obligations like child care, home maintenance, food preparation, and the like. If you’re dealing with residual fear and trauma from the accident, get help from a qualified professional. Car accidents are a trauma and it can take time and help to get past all the feelings and effects of being involved in one.
Get Legal Help if Necessary
It is always prudent to talk to an auto accident attorney after a car crash. We may not understand all the ramifications of an accident (who is liable for what, what we can expect in terms of claims, etc.) so it’s always a good idea to consult a lawyer to get a handle on all the possible scenarios that could arise after an accident. Make sure you’re protected.
If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important to deal with your physical and emotional health and to protect yourself legally. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to process what happened, to heal, to talk about it if necessary, and to get through the paperwork and possible legal ramifications of the event. With the right support, you should soon be putting this event in the rearview mirror.
Author information: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelleWilber