Dealing with car accident trauma is not easy. Everyone responds to the traumatic effects of car accidents differently; and, while some people don’t seem to struggle at all, others can face months or even years of psychological and emotional challenges. Neither response is better or worse than the other – they are just different – and anyone who is struggling with car accident trauma should feel comfortable doing what they believe is necessary to cope with their present set of circumstances.
With treatment, car accident trauma will often be temporary. Understanding this can be important for accident victims who are having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. On the other hand, for those who are facing lifelong consequences, it is important to understand and accept this as well, and dealing with their car accident trauma will mean finding effective coping mechanisms that they can incorporate into their day-to-day lives.
7 Steps for Dealing with Car Accident Trauma
When dealing with car accident trauma, there is no single “roadmap to recovery.” Instead, all accident victims need to take the steps that make the most sense for their individual circumstances. With that said, there are a number of steps that most professionals will typically recommend, and following these steps – or at least using them to get started – can be helpful if you aren’t currently sure where else to turn:
1. Accept that You are Facing a Difficult Situation
First, when you are dealing with car accident trauma, it is important to accept that you are facing a difficult situation. Remaining in denial can prevent you from doing what you need to do in order to begin to move on. You’ve been seriously injured in a car accident – a life-changing event – and while you never expected it to happen, it did.
Importantly, accepting that you are facing a difficult situation does not mean accepting whatever challenges might come your way. As we discuss next, professional help is available; and, by accepting that you need help, you can start to deal effectively with your car accident trauma.
2. Seek Professional Care
Second, if you are struggling with the effects of your car accident, you should seek professional care. There is a science to trauma recovery, and experienced therapists and doctors can assist you in dealing with your car accident trauma effectively.
Where do you go for help? This can be a difficult question to answer—but you should not let it stand in the way of seeking professional care. The doctor you are seeing currently should be able to provide you with a referral; and, if you talk to a lawyer (which you should—more on this below), your lawyer may be able to refer you to a trusted specialist who works with car accident victims as well.
3. Talk to People You Love and Trust
Third, you should talk to people you love and trust. These could be members of your family or your closest friends. In many cases, simply talking to someone who cares can help (although your friends and family will not be able to provide the same insights and recommendations that a licensed doctor or therapist will be able to provide).
Many people are hesitant to turn to their family and friends for help—and this is understandable. But, you should also understand that your family and friends want to help you. They know you would do the same for them, and they will be glad that you reached out to them when you felt that you wanted or needed to do so.
4. Learn More about Your Trauma
Fourth, you should learn more about your trauma. There are a lot of misconceptions about dealing with car accident trauma—many of which get perpetuated online. But, there are some reliable resources as well, including:
- CDC – Coping with a Traumatic Event
- NIH MedlinePlus – Traumatic Stress: New Roads to Recovery
- American Psychological Association - Trauma
While it often helps car accident victims to learn more on their own, this is not a substitute for seeking professional help. Even if you take the time to learn more online, you should still talk to a professional—and he or she will be able to help point you toward reliable resources as well.
5. Consider Joining a Support Group
Fifth, consider joining a support group. There are local groups available in cities across the country; and, today, there are also groups that hold their meetings online. Joining a support group is another way to help relieve the stress of your situation by speaking openly in a safe and supportive environment.
Just like finding a good doctor or therapist, finding a good support group for dealing with car accident trauma can be tricky. Once you find a doctor or therapist, he or she should be able to provide some recommendations. Your attorney may have recommendations from his or her past clients as well.
6. Commit Yourself to Your Recovery
Sixth, when dealing with car accident trauma, it is important to commit yourself to your recovery. If you are going to recover, it is going to be because you put in the time and effort to do so. So, seek professional advice, follow your mental health professional’s advice, and tell yourself that you are going to do what it takes to move on.
7. Talk to a Lawyer about Your Rights
Finally, when dealing with car accident trauma, it is also important to talk to a lawyer through CarAccidentSource.com about your rights. The financial costs of suffering traumatic injuries can be substantial, and trauma can lead to “non-financial” costs as well (i.e. pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress, and loss of enjoyment of life). These are costs that car accident victims can recover with the help of a lawyer in many cases.
It costs nothing to talk to a lawyer about your rights; and, if a lawyer believes you are entitled to financial compensation, he or she will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you won’t pay anything unless you win, and your legal fees will simply be deducted as a percentage of your award.