A car accident can be a life-altering experience. Not only do you have to deal with the pain of injuries and the financial setbacks of medical bills, missing work, and car repairs, you also might be struggling with mental and emotional trauma from the event. To top it all off, you’re likely going to be dealing with hyper-aggressive insurance people or the legal system at some point. The following will explore some of the things you can do to get your life back together after a car accident.
Even if you don’t feel tired, and even if your injuries aren’t severe, you just experienced a huge emotional upheaval, and your body needs rest. This is, in part, because the body processes emotional experiences while we sleep. If you’re not getting enough rest, your body can’t heal, but neither can your mind. To help with this, try turning off the screens and any other blue light-emitting objects an hour before bedtime and choose to read a book or magazine or write in a journal or something non-screen based before you fall asleep. Do your best to be asleep between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, as these are the prime hours for healing. You can always go back to your regular sleep schedule after you’ve recovered.
Follow Medical Recommendations
Whether you choose to seek out a doctor, specialist, or holistic healthcare practitioner after the accident, you need to be following their instructions. Foremost, you must get yourself medically examined after an accident; no matter how you feel physically, things like shock and other medical conditions that are common after an accident can prevent you from feeling your injuries in full. Difficult situations like internal bleeding and brain damage sometimes don’t have symptoms you can recognize. Secondly, if the accident does end up going through a legal proceeding, and you’ve been found to be ignoring medical advice, this might be interpreted as you not being as injured as you claim to be.
Of course, if a doctor’s instructions feel wrong or make you uncomfortable, seek out a second opinion. Never settle for medical treatment that leaves you feeling disregarded or disrespected. Just because someone is a doctor doesn’t mean that they know everything about everything. If you have a symptom you feel is serious, and a medical professional is ignoring you, or you don’t like the effects of the medication you were prescribed, advocate for yourself and don’t settle for anything less.
Seek Out Legal Support
Whatever claims or insurance process you’re considering, it’s always a good idea to speak to a lawyer first. You’re looking for someone who handles the specific type of incident you’re dealing with in the state where the accident occurred. If, for example, you’re in Chicago, Illinois, you’re going to want to look for a lawyer that handles car accidents in Chicago. Many lawyers have free consultations, and quite a few charge nothing unless they take on your case and earn you money. Insurance companies are going to try to get you the least amount of money possible, even if you’re entitled to a lot more. To make things more frustrating, you often cannot choose to pursue a different course of action once you begin the process for one course, even if the other one turns out to be in your best interest. The insurance companies are going to have cutthroat lawyers working for them; you need someone who understands what you are entitled to advocate for your legal rights.
Seek Out Mental Support
Many people underestimate the mental toll being in an accident can have. You might not feel safe in vehicles or feel able to drive without having a panic attack. You might get nervous when walking around cars and avoid busy intersections. Car accidents are actually the number one source of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in America. You might also be struggling with financial stress, discomfort dealing with legal authorities, loss of identity if you’re not able to carry on working as you previously did, and feelings of low self-worth if you’re having trouble meeting your familial obligations. All of these emotional responses are normal after a car accident, but if they’re beginning to interfere with your life, you might want to seek out some emotional and mental support.
The above information should help you get started on your recovery journey post-car accident. Sometimes the process takes a while, so it’s a good idea to find someone you can speak to when it gets stressful or confusing.
Featured Photo by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash