Crash! Here’s What To Expect After Your First Car Accident

car crash wikimedia commons credit in story
Written by T.E. Wing

You just survived your first car accident. Now what?

Car accidents are too common. There are over 3,000 road accident deaths every year. 50 million people are injured in road accidents, whether it’s car, motorcycle, or truck. While it’s not a comfortable topic, it’s something of which everyone should be aware. Not every car accident results in death, and some accidents don’t even result in injury. When a car accident happens, however, you should be prepared.

If you or a loved one get into a car accident, you should be equipped for what happens next. There are several things that you should investigate following a car accident, and it helps to know them ahead of time. After an accident, you often feel like you’re reeling, and you might find it hard to focus on what comes next. Knowing ahead of time what to do can help save you stress. You wouldn’t want to miss any of these important steps. Here’s a list of things to expect after a car accident.

You Should: Exchange Information

Right after your accident, assuming both you and the other driver can still move your vehicles, you should pull over to a nearby parking lot and exchange information , even if you intend to settle the car accident without insurance. It’s illegal to not give your insurance information to the other driver, and vice versa. Don’t avoid this meeting, because you could be fined for failure to reveal your information. Having each other’s insurance information helps you both receive financial compensation for the accident. This helps both of you out over the next few months.

You Will: Feel Strange

After an accident, it’s normal to feel disoriented. You might cry, your hands may start shaking, or you might feel like you’re in a fog. You just survived a powerful dose of adrenaline, and your body won’t be reacting in a normal fashion for some time. Make sure you don’t get back on the road until you’re ready. At this stage, you may not know if you’re moderately injured, since back and neck injuries aren’t always noticeable this early. Make sure you take time for your body to calm down, and give yourself a waiting period after the accident.

You Should. See Your Doctor

Even if you don’t feel any symptoms for the first few days, you should see your doctor. You won’t qualify for certain insurance claims unless you see your doctor within the first few weeks, so you should head to a nearby clinic and get a checkup. A mild concussion or back injury might not manifest for awhile, but a doctor can help you find and treat the issue in time. Even if you don’t feel any symptoms, you should still see your doctor. He or she can help protect your body from potential injuries following your accident.

You Will: Need Recovery

On the other hand, your injuries may be severe, in which case, you’ll know right away. Recovery from a car accident can be both lengthy and expensive. It’s important to win the financial compensation you deserve from your accident, and to give yourself grace as you take time off. Don’t stress about missing work, or taking time to heal. Instead, undergo the necessary treatments. You may need to see a chiropractor, schedule an appointment with an oral surgeon, such as one in New Brunswick, NJ, or schedule a few months of physical therapy. Whatever you need to do to recover, make sure you take the proper amount of time out to do it.

You May: Have Anxiety

It’s not uncommon, especially after serious accidents, for you to experience severe anxiety, or even PTSD. Car accidents can be traumatic, and you can feel shaken for months afterward. If you experience any fear at the thought of driving again, recurring nightmares, or any other signs of trauma, you should see a therapist. Most insurance settlements should help cover your therapy appointments. It’s important to take proper care of your mind, as well as your body, following a car accident.

You Should: Talk to a Lawyer

Sometimes, just talking to your insurance companies isn’t enough. You could win a larger compensation if you consult with a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury law protects you if you weren’t at fault in the accident. Even if you were at fault, a lawyer can still help you win the money you’ll need for doctors bills and therapy. After an accident, it’s always wise to consult with a lawyer to see if you have a personal injury case. You deserve financial assistance after your accident, and the right lawyer can help you get it.

You Will: Repair Your Car

After your accident, you’ll need to recover, and so will your car. If you car was battered, but not totaled, you’ll need to schedule appointments to get everything fixed. From remanufactured cylinder heads to a new paint job, you can get your car looking as good as new. If your car was totaled, use some of the money you received in your settlement to buy a new one. Whether you choose to look at used cars or new 2018 Ford vehicles, a new car can help you get back on the road.

You Will: Recover

A car accident is often frightening. You may suffer certain levels of driving anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder. You may need to take several months to heal your body, or undergo surgeries to get everything back to normal. Even if your life doesn’t look the way it did before, you can still get your life to a new, manageable place after the accident. For a time, the accident can feel like the end of life as you knew it. However, within a few months, it will start fading from your mind and memory. With the help of your doctor, physical therapist, psychologist, and lawyer, you can get back to the life you love. Even if your accident affects your life for a season, you can still rebuild a great future and enjoy total recovery.

Image by W. Robert Howell from Charlotte, NC, United States (still here.) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.