When it comes to major public health concerns, auto accidents have gradually become recognized as one of the chief culprits of accidental injury and death in the world. Globally, nearly 1.25 million people die per year – or roughly 3,287 people per day. Another 20 to 50 million people are injured or disabled.
So while you may think you’re out of harm’s way, getting behind the wheel of a car is actually one of the riskier things you do on a daily basis. Should you find yourself in a situation where you’re injured in a car accident, how you handle your recovery will, to a large degree, determine your long-term outlook.
4 Tips to Help You Recover
Your accident recovery process will be unique to you. And while it’s highly dependent on situational factors, you’ll find that the following tips are helpful in rediscovering your new normal.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
The most important and urgent piece of advice is to follow your doctor’s orders exactly as they’re given. Don’t assume that you know better than someone who has dedicated decades of their life to medicine. If they give you a treatment plan, it’s designed with your best interests in mind.
It’s also important to keep an eye out for hidden injuries that don’t appear until hours or days later. These may include things like herniated discs, traumatic brain injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, and certain psychological side effects. If you notice any of these symptoms emerge after the fact, set up an appointment with your healthcare team so that you can be reexamined.
If you have serious questions about the competency of your doctors, then get a second opinion. However, there’s a difference between being too stubborn to follow orders and genuinely believing the doctor is wrong. In the former situation, you simply need to bite the bullet and do what you’re told.
- Take Care of Legal Issues
“Your accident isn’t an inconvenience – it’s a complete disruption of your life, especially when it includes emergency room bills, massive vehicle repair or vehicle replacement, rehabilitation costs, and other associated expenses,” The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian explains. “Injuries can take years of physical and psychological therapy to overcome, and have the potential to disrupt your way of life for an extended period of time.”
If you’re the victim in a car accident, you may have the opportunity to pursue legal recourse. No matter how small you think your situation is, it’s imperative that you look into these options. You never know what your recovery will entail or what expenses you’ll incur. Having some funds available will ensure your injuries don’t destroy your financial future.
- Address Emotional Fallout
Long after most physical wounds heal, it’s emotional fallout that affects many car accident victims.
“It’s not so much the severity of the crash or the severity of any resulting injury that counts – it’s how someone perceives it,” Dr. Lynda Matthews says. “If you perceive the crash as life-threatening, or if someone is killed in the accident, then that can influence your response.”
Don’t bury your emotions. It’s common to experience any or all of the following symptoms: anxiety, depression, fear, anger, frustration, confusion, helplessness, irritability, inability to concentrate, or issues sleeping. If you notice any of these issues, seek out professional guidance and/or confide in a loved one. Opening up about the less obvious side effects will help you move toward recovery.
- Take Your Time
The final piece of advice is to take your time and to avoid hurrying yourself through recovery. If you try to ignore the symptoms and will your way back to 100 percent, you’ll inevitably set yourself up for long-term failure.
Remember to respect your doctor’s orders and listen to the advice of those around you. There’s nothing heroic about rushing back prematurely. By patiently waiting for your body to respond to treatment, you’ll increase your likelihood of reaching a full recovery.
Putting it All Together
There’s no perfect formula for recovering from a car accident. However, by following the advice outlined in this article, you’ll find it easier to approach your recovery with the efficiency and poise that’s needed to thrive.