Every year there are nearly 6 million car accidents on U.S.roads. With that large of a number, your chances are unfortunately pretty good for some kind of accident, if even just a fender bender.
Whether a minor car accident, or a serious one, when they happen, it has to be dealt with. Once the accident is over, and everything that needs immediate attention has been handled, coping after a car accident may take some adjustments and time.
What Causes an Accident?
We are driving in a distracting world. We all know what needs to be said next: smartphones. As if life wasn’t distracting enough while driving, now we have added plenty of technology into our vehicles, just waiting to sidetrack us, and take our eyes off the road.
It only takes a second for the wrong thing to happen, and boom, care accident. We could create a never-ending list of possible distractions, children making noise and babies crying, people chatting and laughing, selecting some music, and as mentioned, a multitude of possibilities when operating our phones. Try creating a habit of at least silencing the phone when driving, and always use it hands-free.
Stuck in traffic and feeling impatient? Look out – impatience is a great opportunity for a car accident. Try taking some deep breaths, and remember, being impatient isn’t going to fix anything.
One of the most dangerous causes of an accident is intoxication. Drugs and alcohol can be deadly when someone chooses to get behind the wheel. Encourage friends and family to use an Uber or designated driver, always. The life-altering accident that could be caused by being intoxicated, simply is not worth the risk.
What to do when it happens
It’s bound to happen at some point. You are on your way to work, running late, and you rear-end someone – or worse. Immediately coping after a car accident can be tough, because you may feel a bit disoriented. If the accident was minor, find your phone and dial 911 for assistance, and get the involved vehicles to a safe location, like the side of the road. If it is a major accident and you can’t move, you will have to wait for assistance. As a driver, never pass by an accident if it looks like no one has arrived to help.
As help arrives in the form of police, ambulance, and towing service, you will now be able to focus on what is most important, making sure everyone is safe, and if there are injuries, those are being dealt with. At some point, the police will need to see your vehicle insurance. However, your health and safety will be a priority. Things like insurance will be handle when you are able.
Some accidents cause a clear reason to head to the hospital after. Those are the type of accidents to avoid. Others are minor, and it can be hard to know if you should be checked out by an EMT or doctor. It can’t hurt to be examined just in case. Unfortunately, when coping after a car accident, pain from an injury may not show up until a later date.
The Importance of an Auto Insurance Agency
Your auto insurance agency is essential. Each state has its own laws about what kind of auto insurance you are required to have. After paying that monthly or yearly bill for your insurance, while coping after a car accident, you will be thankful you have that insurance. Hopefully before the accident, you picked from a list of car insurance companies, and received the best advice, making sure you are completely covered.
Sometimes one of the parties involved in the accident will not be insured. This can make things complicated. If you were the cause of the accident, the victim of the accident, or injured, insured or not, if it looks like the process may be dragged out, contact a car accident lawyer immediately.
Injuries and Attorneys
Personal injuries and injuries of the other party involved, are the toughest part when coping after a car accident. If you are hurt, you will be dealing with healing. If the other person or persons were hurt, you may be asked to help financially. Either way, at this point, auto accident lawyers need to be involved for your protection, so you can focus on getting back to a normal life as soon as possible.
Why is a Car Accident Attorney Necessary?
Depending on the extent of the injury, a car accident attorney may be necessary. You may miss out on work. If the accident is not your fault, you shouldn’t have to suffer for that. That is where your attorney comes in to help. They can defend you, and help you stay afloat financially, while healing and dealing with medical bills that may be adding up. If the accident was your fault, you will need an attorney for the same reason. You’ll need protection to be sure you aren’t being taken advantage of.
Your accident attorney may also have to step in if your workplace says you have to work, even though you are injured. Your attorney will probably advise you to keep close track of everything at that point. Medical records, medical bills, photos of injury sites, and the police report, can all prove you are seriously injured and need time off.
Fixing The Car
There is no getting around it – every accident, big or small, causes damage to the vehicles. Collision repair can range from a small scratch to a completely totaled car, not worth salvaging. Even a small scratch may need to be repaired to ensure the value of your car.
When coping after a car accident auto repairs take a back seat to injuries. But eventually they do have to be dealt with. If your car was towed away at the scene of the accident, the towing company will need to know where to bring it. You or someone you trust will need to choose an auto body repair shop.
Who Will Pay For Collision Repairs?
When a car accident happens, it does more than just ruin your day. You will find for days, weeks, and even months afterward, there is a lot that needs to be taken care of. The answer to most questions, when coping after a car accident, will be answered depending on who is at fault for the accident. If you are not at fault, you should not be paying for anything. It is the other party’s responsibility, and why car insurance was created. It protects both sides.
My Car is Totaled
Nothing worse to hear about your car, than the word, totaled. But it does happen. Walking away from the scene of an accident where a car is totaled, is definitely a blessing. Now what? Enter – car rental. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of your car rental while yours is being repaired or you are shopping for a new car. You should also receive money toward the new one, through your insurance or the other party’s insurance. So as frustrating as the situation is, it will be resolved, and you will have wheels again.
An Emotional Toll
Coping after a car accident takes its toll. You may experience financial loss, injury, job loss, and possibly a death for one or both accident victims. With all of these possibilities, it is okay to not be okay for a while. There is hope in every situation.
The list of possible financial losses while coping after a car accident is, unfortunately, a long one. Everything is a what-if, and need to be discussed as a possibility. Car repair or replacement and medical bills will hopefully be covered by insurance. If not, someone is paying out of pocket. Remember, if you aren’t being properly covered, refer to your attorney, or find one of you haven’t.
Job loss can sometimes occur if the injury impacts your ability to work the job you had. Use every avenue possible in the area where you live, to help you get through this tough time.
Your insurance has been helpful through all of this..however, you may see an increase in the yearly amount after an accident. Your safe driving record will be affected, and that shows up in your insurance. If you feel it is unreasonable, talk with your insurance company and see if they will work with you.
Injury and Possible Permanent Damage
Again, when coping after a car accident, injury and finances go hand in hand. A sore neck from whiplash during an accident might go away after a few days, never to return. Or it may be so bad you need surgery, or suffer from it for years. That is just an example. Any injury is possible. If bad enough, it can cause you to lose your job, simply because your new physical condition makes it impossible to complete the tasks you used to do easily every day. Beyond finances, this will take quite an emotional toll.
When an auto accident causes permanent disability, it’s life-altering. With the help of insurance, the medical industry, and an accident attorney, you should be able to receive the medical service, and therapy you need to recover. Although your life may be dramatically changed, there is hope in starting new and learning to live with your new normal.
The Worst Scenario: Death After an Accident
A car accident may, very sadly, cause death. A death of someone you love or the death of someone you didn’t even know, but was involved in the accident, can seem impossible to get over. In this case, counseling may be vital in order for you to deal with the pain and move on. The pain of losing someone, or the tremendous burden of guilt if someone was killed and you feel it was your fault, are valid feelings and need to be addressed. This is not something you should deal with alone.
Medical and mental assistance is available to those coping after a car accident. At a time like this there is no need to be too proud to ask for help. Some insurance companies may cover counseling as well as medical assistance following a car accident. Your emotional well being is absolutely just as important as your physical health.
A counselor who specializes in trauma situations may be able to help you cope. Not only is a car accident extremely traumatic, but the accident can trigger past traumas as well. Some of the anxiety you could be feeling after an accident, could be stemming from more than just the current accident. Either way, a good counselor will get to the bottom of it, and help you in your recovery.
As you heal from any physical injuries, you may have to learn a new level of patience. Injuries caused by car accidents are often mysterious in the way that they can appear well after the accident happens. It can be frustrating to think you are fine, then suddenly start waking up daily with severe back pain. There is a good chance that new pain is stemming from the accident you had weeks or even months ago. That is why an immediate, thorough examination is so important the day of the accident.
Often physical therapy is needed for a while after things like surgeries, broken bones, etc.. These medical costs should continue to be covered by insurance or the side that caused the accident. Be patient with yourself, and you will reach your goal for healing.
No matter what, remember an accident is an accident. No one sets out to ruin their day or someone else’s with a crash. Certainly car accidents are terrifying, and we all hope it never happens to us or someone we love. Once it does, it must be dealt with, and thankfully there are many people and industries ready to help. An accident may have the capability to destroy lives…just don’t let it destroy yours.