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Car Accident Aftermath: 11 Tips for Physical, Financial, and Mental Recovery

by Busines Newswire
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Car accidents are often traumatizing and debilitating, especially in accidents that occur at high speeds. After the accident, you’ll face challenges impeding your progress in terms of physical, financial, and mental recovery. Your car may be a total wreck, you may be in the hospital for some time, and you may face heightened stress or even symptoms of PTSD as the weeks progress.

So what steps can you take to make this recovery process faster and easier?

Financial Recovery

Let’s start by diving into the most important elements of your financial recovery.

  1.   Talk to a lawyer. Emergency medical treatment should be your highest priority after an accident, but after that, you should talk to a lawyer. Your lawyer will help you better understand the circumstances of your accident; they can help you determine who was at fault, how strong your case is, the extent of your damages, and whether it makes sense to move forward with legal action. In some cases, the best thing you can do for yourself is to accept the settlement offered by whichever insurance company you’re working with. In other cases, it makes more sense to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the full extent of your damages. Either way, you should be compensated for your medical costs, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more, assuming the accident wasn’t your fault. And in any case, your lawyer can help you find the best financial path forward.
  2.   Negotiate with insurance companies. In many accidents, it pays to negotiate with insurance companies. We all have car insurance to financially protect us in the event of an accident, but it’s important to remember that insurance companies must remain profitable to survive. They have an
    incentive to make low offers so they can increase profitability, but you can increase those offers with the right negotiating strategy. Your lawyer can help you with this as well.
  3.   Carefully reassess your budget (temporarily). In the weeks and months following your car accident, it pays to reassess your budget, at least temporarily. Depending on your circumstances, you may be temporarily unable to work, you may not have access to a vehicle, and you may face additional expenses, like medical supplies. Hopefully, you’ll eventually be compensated for all these things, but in the short term, you’ll need to make your money last. Consider cutting unnecessary expenses and living more frugally for now.

Physical Recovery

It’s also important to manage your physical recovery.

  1.   Get medical treatment right away. Immediately following the accident, you should seek emergency medical treatment, even if you feel you don’t need it. Experiencing an accident usually leads to a spike in adrenaline, which can cover up the signs and symptoms of serious injuries. Only a trained medical professional will be able to properly assess you and recommend the appropriate treatment. It’s also important to get medical treatment so you can have evidence on the extent of your injuries.
  2.   Attend all follow-up appointments and care recommendations. Similarly, it’s important to attend all follow-up appointments and all care recommendations. Your healthcare providers are educated and trained to give you the fastest, most reliable path to recovery, so it’s wise to trust them and comply with all their advice. Again, it’s also important to do this for accurate recordkeeping in case you decide to take legal action in the future.
  3.   Eat well and exercise (if you can). Your body is going to recover much faster if you take good care of it. That means you should make it a priority to eat well and exercise to whatever extent you can. Drink lots of water throughout the day, eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, avoid junk foods and foods high in sugar, and make it a point to get at least some exercise every day. If your doctor advises you to avoid working out, you may still be able to get some light exercise in the form of walking or stretching.
  4.   Get plenty of rest. Sleep and rest are critical for recovering from injuries. Accordingly, you should make rest one of your top priorities. Don’t go to work if you don’t have to, get some help with chores and errands around the house, and go easy on yourself generally. You don’t have to stay in bed 24/7, but you should make it a point to get plenty of sleep at night and avoid excessively straining yourself during the day.

Mental Recovery

It’s easy to neglect your mental recovery, especially when your financial and physical recovery are so immediately challenging. However, it’s vital to take care of your mental health after an accident.

  1.   Talk to a therapist. Even if you feel you don’t need one, it’s often helpful to talk to a therapist. This is an opportunity to share your true thoughts and feelings with a professional confidant – and an opportunity to learn new coping and management strategies that you can use to get control over any negative feelings you might have. If you’re struggling with PTSD or a similar anxiety disorder, regular sessions with a professional therapist can help you overcome the worst symptoms.
  2.   Develop coping strategies. Most people experience at least some stress and anxiety following a car accident, so it’s important to develop coping strategies to deal with those negative feelings. Fortunately, there are many coping strategies to choose from, so you can build a roster of coping strategies that work for you. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, journaling, certain forms of exercise, and creative activities are all excellent options.
  3.   Lean on friends and family for support. Staying social will help you stay mentally healthy and give you more positive emotional experiences during this trying time. Your closest friends and family members will also likely be willing to help you with whatever you need. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family for support.
  4.   Do things you love. Finally, do things you love, to whatever extent you can. Watch some of your favorite movies. Order some of your favorite food. Engage in activities you don’t always have time for. These forms of self-care can help you maintain a better mood and outlook.

Recovering from a car accident is never easy, but it is manageable if you have the right mindset and you’re willing to proactively take care of yourself. With the help of a good lawyer, a good doctor, and some good friends, you can recover financially, physically, and mentally much faster – and eventually return to your normal life.