A road accident can take an ordinary day and turn it into utter chaos. It can leave you feeling sore, scared, overwhelmed, stressed, and confused about what you need to do next. You’re probably vaguely away of the things you need to do after an accident, but many people don’t understand the details and nuances of dealing with a road accident until after they’ve been in one and realized all the things they should have done.
The following will explore a few essential things that you should do following a road accident to help promote recovery, improve legal and insurance outcomes and reduce the negative financial impacts an accident can have on your life.
Carefully Approach Your First Steps
While an accident is a terrifying thing that leaves you emotionally turbulent, there are a few first steps that can make dealing with the aftermath a lot easier for you and anyone else involved. If you’re able, take photographs of the scene—more is better than less. This is yet another fantastic reason to consider phone storage hygiene a weekly task worth doing; if your phone is too full to take photos and videos, you should probably clear up some space on it. You don’t know what could be useful evidence; a local motorcycle accident attorney from Austin points out that some common causes of accidents aren’t always immediate.
Exchange information with any other drivers, but while you do so, be careful not to admit any fault or speak more than necessary. If this incident turns into a legal proceeding, anything you say can cause you trouble later on. Do not sign anything or agree to anything until you’ve spoken to a lawyer. Of course, you’re also going to want to call the police and seek medical attention.
It’s really important to seek medical attention even if you don’t feel like you need it. Things like shock can make it difficult for you to have a strong sense of your injuries. There are also many kinds of injuries that are common in accidents that don’t show on the outside of your body but reveal themselves much later on. Having a doctor take a look can ensure that any injuries are dealt with promptly, which can improve your odds of fully recovering. A medical appointment can also be used as evidence if the accident becomes a legal ordeal.
Reach Out To A Legal Professional
You need to meet with a lawyer or attorney who specializes in the particular kind of road accident you’ve experienced. Often people aren’t aware of all their options after an accident. In most cases, once you take one course of action (for instance, filing an insurance claim), you’re legally giving up your right to pursue other courses of action. This may or may not be in your best interest. The only way you’re going to know that is if you speak to a lawyer before you sign anything.
It’s important to note that if you’ve been in an accident that has specific features, such as a certain type of vehicle or kind of injury that resulted from the accident, you ideally want to look for a lawyer who specializes in that kind of road accident. For instance, if you got into an accident while driving a motorcycle, you want to look for a local motorcycle accident attorney. Even within the same type of law (personal injury, road accident) there can be a lot of variability in how cases are handled. It’s a good idea to talk to someone who has dealt with your kind of case in the past.
Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Road accidents can negatively impact your mental health in a myriad of ways. Foremost, if you’re unable to do the things you regularly do for a while, you might find yourself feeling low. Many people’s identities are built around the things they like doing and the things they’re good at. Missing time from work or not being able to chase your kids around can leave you feeling less valuable than you felt before the accident.
Beyond this, spending time on the road is a common part of many people’s lives. If you’ve been in an accident, it can be hard to jump back into a car as nothing happened. Sometimes, it’s downright horrifying.
Moreover, road accidents often require paperwork, legal proceedings, insurance claims, and/or conversations with law enforcement. All of these things can be incredibly stressful.
You need to understand that after a traumatic event, the mind likes to spend a little time going over all the details, trying to figure out if there was any indication that the event was going to happen, trying to see if something can be done to prevent a similar event in the future. This can be emotional and overwhelming, but it’s not bad or wrong. Your brain is simply bothered by the event and wants to help make sure you don’t have to deal with the same thing again.
Pay attention to your mental well-being and seek help or support if you need it. Vehicle accidents are a common cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. Don’t try to force yourself to feel a certain way; simply remain aware of your feelings and, if you find them uncomfortable, ask yourself what you need.
All feelings are an indication of a need or interest. If you’re feeling anxious, you probably need to feel safe. What would make you feel safe? Do that. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you probably need a moment of calm. How can you provide that for yourself? It’s a good idea to be gentle with yourself and your emotions as you recover from the accident.
As you can see, there are a few critical things you need to do after you’ve been in a road accident. Again, it’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. If you’re ecstatic because you’ve just realized how quickly life can change for the worse, and you want to enjoy every minute you’ve got, that’s fine. If you want to avoid driving for the next little while, taking public transit to get to work even if it takes longer, that’s okay too.
If you want to go on a road trip to see your sister because you miss her, that’s cool too. Don’t suppress your feelings at this time, but listen to them—maybe even journal about them. It’s completely normal for your needs and interests to change for a little while after an incident like this. Don’t add beating yourself up for not feeling what you’re “supposed” to feel to the list of things you’re experiencing.