How to Support a Family Member After a Car Accident
If a loved one, family member, or someone close to you has experienced a car accident, this has no doubt been a very difficult time for them. Road accidents are common in Australia, and happen as a result of many things. Budget Direct averages the number of people dying on the road to equal about three people a day. Getting involved in a road accident leaves a lot of lasting repercussions; there are a lot of injuries, both visible and invisible that can affect how people continue to live their lives. It’s hard to watch someone you love go through this, so it makes sense that we often look for ways to help. If one of your family members or loved ones has recently experienced the devastation of a car accident (more than a little prang), then read through our guide on what you can do to support them in the aftermath of the accident.
Supporting Physical Injuries
Each year in Australia, around two per cent of the population is injured severely enough to require hospital admission, according to Phoenix Australia. Road accidents can cause some of the most devastating physical injuries which may take months to recover from – some have lifetime affects.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to assist someone with a physical injury. You want to help, but you don’t want to over-step. Here are some general things you can do to build a positive environment and help someone living with temporary physical injuries:
- Help with day-to-day needs: cooking nutritious meals, cleaning, stepping out and getting groceries and medications, and driving them to medical appointments.
- Provide emotional support: validate their feelings and avoid phrases like “you’ll be right” and “you’ll get used to it”.
- Sometimes people just need to vent – just listen in this case.
- Make sure they’ve got all the right equipment to support their injuries (e.g. maybe they’ll need a step or handrail for the tub or shower for a little while).
- Make sure they’re getting enough sleep as this is the body’s peak time to heal.
- Try to get them out of the house if it’s safe to do so – a walk outside in the fresh air can help improve an outlook.
Supporting Psychological Trauma
Sometimes injuries are not visible – they may be hidden beneath the surface and manifest as unresolved trauma. A major consequence of road accidents is psychological conditions such as anxiety and PTSD. In Australia, car accidents are a major cause of severe injury and therefore contribute significantly to the PTSD rate in Australia. Many survivors will display PTSD symptoms (e.g. nightmares, intrusive memories) in the initial weeks after being injured. Fortunately, for many these symptoms resolve within three months. However, approximately 10 to 15 per cent of accident survivors will go on to develop chronic PTSD. There are, of course, many other emotions and psychological impacts that result following being involved in an accident: guilt, anger, stress, depression, anxiety, fear. Whatever your family member is feeling, it’s good to reassure them that their feelings are valid and understood.
In the aftermath of an accident, your family member may also feel nervous about getting behind the wheel again. This too is normal and takes time to overcome – although if it’s taking a little longer and you feel like this person is not getting on with their lives, then it might be work seeking extra support from mental health services in Australia. Beyond Blue, in particular, provides a lot of free resources to those experiencing depression and anxiety.
Are you supporting an older family member and aren’t sure whether they should be getting back on the road? We can help clarify some misconceptions about elder drivers and explain the rules and regulations in Australia
Talking to Lawyers
Sometimes road accidents create some seriously messy legal situations, perhaps as a result of having to deal with insurance companies or other drivers who are on the wrong side of the law. On the other hand, you or your family member may not be aware of certain compensation they might be entitled to following the accident. If your family member was not at fault of the accident and they have suffered physical or psychological injury as a result of the accident, they may be allowed to claim compensation to assist with their ongoing expenses. It’s always a good idea to talk to a car accident lawyer or a solicitor that specialises in legislation related to car crashes and insurance, even if it’s for a brief consultation.
Speaking of car insurance, your loved one may need assistance dealing with insurance if they don’t have the capacity to talk to their insurance company. Dealing with insurance can be a long and draining process that can require a lot of back and forth and waiting, so doing anything to help with this process is greatly helpful.
Trying to organise a repair through insurance? Novus Auto Glass has got your windscreens covered. We are the preferred suppliers of windscreen repairs and replacements to many Australian insurers. We can process your insurance claims easily and efficiently as we deal with insurers on a daily basis. That’s one less thing to worry about!
If you’d like to learn more about the best insurance companies in Australia for those on a tight budget, we’ve covered who the cheapest insurers are in one of our earlier articles. Click here to find out more.
The Road to Recovery
It takes time to heal from physical injuries and trauma, so the best advice we can give is to just give it time. Day by day there will be some minor improvement and eventually, your loved one will be ready to get back into the swing of things; however, this isn’t always the case. In rare cases you may have to make some adjustments – this will eventually become your new normal. Most importantly, there is no wrong or right way to be a supportive and helpful family member – you simply do what you can.
To prevent further accidents and injury, there are some further steps your family member can take:
- Taking a defensive driving course can help them feel more confident and empowered on the road and help them identify risks before they escalate.
- They can make sure their car is roadworthy and up to safety standards by getting it assessed by a professional. It’s especially important to make sure they’re not driving around a written-off car after an accident.
- On top of making sure their car is legally safe to drive on Australian roads, it’s also important to regularly maintain it to ensure all of the parts are working properly and it’s not lacking any fluids. Help your family member get their car services and tend to any scratches and chips before they escalate into a crack or shattered windscreen.
Novus Auto Glass are leading providers of windscreen and window repair or replacement. We help you get your car back up to standard for Australian roads so that you can move on with your life. If you or someone you know urgently needs a glass repair or replacement, get into contact with Novus.