For many people a car accident is a nightmare scenario. One moment you’re driving down the road and the next a horrible squealing of brakes announces that something has gone wrong. It’s a seemingly everlasting moment in which life flashes before your eyes, the lights of the cars around you become blinding and the adrenaline coursing through your system starts your heart beating much faster.
After the endless seconds of the crash, you emerge, blinking in the light with the sound of car horns ringing in your ears. You look around, taking stock of the situation. But after the hurricane comes the calm, and we must pick up the pieces to continue living. What happens next? There are many steps to take, such as finding out what the average settlement for a car accident is and contacting a lawyer.
One of the first considerations after a crash, no matter how major or minor, must be the safety of anyone involved. Were you alone, was anyone else involved, any pedestrians, any cyclists? Our natural response is to help anyone involved in the accident, but remember that if someone appears to have a neck injury the safest thing to do is wait until the emergency services arrive before trying to move them. Tend to people not making any noise before those screaming and always try to stay calm – even though the situation could be terrifying.
Once you’ve ascertained that the people involved in the crash are safe, or at least being treated, it’s time to turn your attention to the vehicles. The first thing to do is contact the insurance companies of anyone whose car has been damaged, they will be able to advise you on how to proceed. They will also help you to arrange either a repair of your vehicle, or it may be necessary to get a replacement, the insurer may even offer you a courtesy car until the situation is resolved.
Next, see if your car is still running and try to get it clear of the roadway – having made sure that it’s safe to do so. If your car won’t start then your insurance company should have it collected and will arrange a way for you to get home. Now is the time to call your family and tell them what’s happened. Don’t forget to reassure them that you’re safe and fine – hearing that a loved one has had an accident can often cause people to jump to conclusions!
In the days and weeks following the crash it’s natural to feel on edge and stressed. Many people feel an aversion to travelling by car, or even cycling, but in the majority of cases this will pass. If not, it may be a good idea to have some driving lessons to restore your self confidence. Driving is essential for many people’s lives and getting back on the road brings a freedom unmatched by public transport, especially in rural areas. Overall the important thing to bear in mind is to take recovery at your own pace, don’t rush anything and use this as an opportunity for self care.