An auto accident can be just as scary for an adult who has years of experience behind the wheel, but it can be even scarier for a small child or a teenager who doesn’t have the mental maturity to fully process his or her emotions. If your family has been in a car accident, your response can set the tone for how the family recovers in the short and long-term. Here are four essential things you should do if you are ever in a car accident.
Take Everyone to the Hospital or Family Doctor
It is possible that you or other members of your family won’t feel the effects of whiplash or a concussion for several hours or even a few days after the car accident. Emotional trauma, as well, may also take hours or days to fully present itself. Therefore, don’t skip a trip to the hospital just because you feel fine or because your child says that he or she feels fine.
In the immediate aftermath of a crash lots happens, a proper medical examination of all of your family members involved is essential. Don’t risk your family’s health on a whim, make sure to see the proper medical care after an auto accident.
Keep an Eye out for Personality Changes
If you’re normally calm son or daughter starts acting out at home or in school after the accident, it could be a sign of PTSD. Acting out could also be a sign of head trauma or other hidden pain that he or she is trying to fight through. An auto accident is a high stress situation and, most likely, your child has not been exposed to something that high stress before.
However, keep an eye on your spouse because changes in mood could also occur in yourself or a spouse after an accident, so be sure to take note of anything that seems off after a crash. Take your child or loved one to the hospital immediately if you think they are hiding pain or dealing with psychological fallout from the collision.
Talk with an Attorney
Talking to a personal injury lawyer can help you learn more about your legal rights after a car crash. The person who hit your vehicle may be liable for paying medical bills, compensating your family for emotional distress or helping to cover other damages incurred. Lost earnings for yourself, your spouse or your children could be part of a settlement or jury verdict in a personal injury case.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Even if you aren’t hurt in an accident, your vehicle could have sustained significant damage. Assuming that the accident wasn’t your fault, the insurance company will go after the other driver to pay for any costs the insurance company incurs to fix your car or truck. Ideally, you will file a claim the day that the accident occurs.
A car accident can have both a physical and emotional component to it. Therefore, be sure that you are there for your children, spouse and other family members. Additionally, be sure that you have someone to talk to if you are having a hard time processing what happened.