There are few things scarier than a serious car crash. From damages to your personal vehicle, insurance claims, and physical injuries, there are many components to consider in the days and weeks after a car accident, and it can be incredibly overwhelming. This is especially true if you or a loved one were seriously harmed, as it may take months or even years to heal from the injuries sustained in the accident.
However, there are many ways to move forward with your life, and today we’ll cover a few of them.
Document all the medical treatments you undergo
Right after a car crash, you likely went to the hospital, where you were assessed and given preliminary treatment to stabilize you. However, this is just the beginning of your journey back to wholeness, and it’s important to keep track of every treatment you receive, whether that is a surgery or physical therapy. This is both to help doctors know what did and didn’t work, as well as to give an accurate assessment of damages for your insurance agency. If the other party was found at fault, and depending on the laws of your state, they may be liable for the damages not just to your car, but to you as well. To be sure that you’re compensated for all these bills, you need to have records of all the therapies you’ve undergone that you can present to your insurance agency.
Many doctor’s offices now use electronic medical records, which makes it easy to retrieve a list of the treatments that you’ve undergone. If you have medical insurance, you’ll want to get in touch with them as well, as they can show you a list of transactions and what you’ve paid toward these treatments. Gathering these all together will make it easier for you to submit these to your car insurance agency and settle the claim
Consult with an attorney
After you’ve handled the claim from the insurance agency, you may want to seek other compensation, as the insurance company may not pay for every treatment, and they will not pay for lost wages or emotional damages either.
First, decide whether you feel that you have a strong case for a personal injury lawsuit: this includes determining what kind of insurance you have and if it allows you to pursue damages other than medical bills and damage to your vehicle. These laws vary by state, and a good personal injury lawyer can assist you in determining not just if you can sue, but also if your case is strong enough to get a settlement from the other party’s insurance agency. Having all the information on hand about your medical treatments will be incredibly helpful to your lawyer as well as your medical team and insurance company.
Be aware that the time it takes for a lawsuit to move through the courts can vary wildly based on a variety of factors, including the complexity of your case and the diagnoses you have received from your care team. During this time, you should focus on healing both physically and emotionally from the traumatic experience of a car crash.
Recognize that a car crash can cause emotional injuries, too
When we think of a car crash, we usually consider only the physical injuries sustained, like whiplash or a broken arm. However, there’s a strong likelihood that you may experience emotional trauma from the accident as well: the National Institutes of Health reports that up to a third of car accident victims will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the first month after the crash.
Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, anxiety, flashbacks, and emotional numbness, all of which can cause serious issues in your daily life. More than that, you might find yourself avoiding thinking about the accident, or refusing to drive out of fear that you’ll be in another car crash. Avoiding driving is an understandable reaction, but it can interfere with your work, family obligations, or social life, making you feel even more isolated and afraid.
To get back on the road, it’s important to seek a therapist that can help you work through your traumatic experience. There are many options for PTSD therapy, from traditional talk therapy to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a program that helps reduce your response to memories and sensations associated with your trauma. Working with a therapist can help you feel more confident in getting back behind the wheel and back to your normal life.
Car crashes are stressful, terrifying, and can be physically painful as well. Whether it is a simple bump on the head or a serious spinal injury, the heartache and frustration that comes from being in a motor vehicle accident will take time to heal. Fortunately, you have options for both your physical, financial, and emotional recovery, from working with a physical therapist and psychologist to pursuing legal action with the help of a great lawyer. Stay optimistic throughout this stressful time and don’t forget to lean on others for support, including professionals you can trust. It’s not easy, but with hope and determination, you can move on from this painful experience and get back to what you love doing.