How to Return to Normal After a Car Accident

If you’re one of the millions of Americans involved in a car accident this year, it’s important that you take an intentional approach to recovery. Returning to normalcy might not be easy, but it is possible.

Physical Recovery

If you have injuries stemming from your car accident, it’s important that you start with physical recovery. This is an essential part of returning to a normal, pain-free life. The extent of your injuries will determine the best path toward recovery, but here are several tips to abide by:

  • Listen to your doctor. It’s imperative that you follow your doctor’s orders and respect the treatment plans your healthcare team puts in place. While it might seem like overkill at times, their plan is designed to help you recover fully. Your adherence to their treatment could also impact the size of your claim (e.g. a failure to attend physical therapy could indicate that you aren’t actually hurt, thereby lowering your payout).
  • Get plenty of rest. Don’t underestimate the importance of rest. When your body has experienced an injury/trauma, rest is one of the key ingredients required for healing. During sleep, your body repairs itself and replenishes the energy required to heal.
  • Eat well. Most of today’s diets actively trigger inflammation in the body. By eating a fresh, healthy diet during this time, you can actively reduce inflammation and supply your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to recover.
  • Avoid bad habits. Make it a point to avoid bad habits like excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Both can increase the amount of inflammation in the body and slow down your recovery.

If you follow this advice, you should find yourself ahead of schedule. This doesn’t mean your recovery will be easy, but it should be smoother.

Emotional Recovery

Car accidents are scary. They can catch you by surprise and cause emotional trauma – particularly when there are horrific physical injuries associated with the incident. Thus, it’s equally important that you pay attention to your mental health after a wreck.

Here are several suggestions for emotional recovery:

  • Talk about it. Therapy might not be a big part of your past, but don’t discount the power it has to help heal the psychological wounds of a car accident. It’s highly recommended that you meet with a therapist to talk through your emotions.
  • Focus on basic needs. Your lack of control in the aftermath of a car accident is often one of the driving forces in anxiety and depression. One suggestion is to focus on the things that you can control. You do this by putting your energy and focus into simple tasks such as fixing a meal, showering, or going for a walk. By prioritizing these basic needs, you can create a greater sense of control in your immediate surroundings.
  • Ease back. It’s wise to ease back into driving (once you’re physically ready). In other words, don’t immediately get back in the driver’s seat and drive down the same road where your accident occurred. Start by riding as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. Then practice driving around an empty parking lot or quiet neighborhood street. Then advance to a busier road, and so on.

By focusing on your emotional recovery (and not just the physical aspects of your injury), a swift return to normalcy becomes much more realistic.

Financial Recovery

While your health always comes first, let’s not ignore the financial side of things. From the damage to your vehicle to the mounting medical bills, it’s easy to feel as if you’re drowning. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hire an attorney. There are so many legal complexities involved in a car accident. When insurance companies get involved, fingers get pointed in every direction. Hiring a car accident lawyer ensures you’re represented well.
  • Stay organized. Medical records, bills, insurance forms, accident reports – the paperwork piles up after a car accident. Create a system for organizing all of this information so that you and your attorney can put forth a strong claim.
  • Be patient. The legal and financial side of a car accident can take months or years to sort through. Be extremely patient as you wait for things to play out. Trying to push the proverbial envelope too much can result in a smaller settlement than you deserve.

Waiting for your car accident claim to play out isn’t easy, but it is an important part of the recovery process. Something as seemingly simple as finances can pave the way for a more complete recovery.

A Return to Normalcy

Life after a car accident is tough. But if you’re willing to put in the work and prioritize your physical, emotional, and financial recovery, you can return to a sense of normalcy sooner rather than later. Start by implementing these tips, but be sure to lean on your support system for further guidance!