When someone you know has been in a car accident, it may be difficult to know the “right thing” to say to help them feel better. They could be in pain, and they may be stressing about how to put their life back together. Many car crash victims are just happy to be alive.
If you’re not sure what to say to someone who just got injured, don’t worry. You can be supportive in big and small ways. Here are some ideas to help your friend, loved one, or acquaintance get through this tough time in their life.
What to Say to Someone After a Car Accident
Some people are afraid of what to say after someone has suffered a tragedy. You might feel powerless, knowing you can’t take the pain away, especially if their car accident was very serious. However, don’t let this prevent you from reaching out. You don’t need to solve their problems—you just need to show you care.
Here are some of the best things to say.
“I’m Glad You’re Okay”
Car accidents are not easy for anyone involved. Just knowing that you’re glad they survived and are standing in front of you will mean a lot.
If you are close to the person, you could give them a hug, too. A hug is a simple gesture that lets them know you’re thinking of them.
“How Are You Feeling?”
When you first see your friend or loved one after the accident, ask how they’re feeling. Be prepared for a less-than-happy answer. Some people feel hopeful and even grateful for surviving an accident, but many accident victims feel emotions such as:
Give them space to communicate these feelings to you. They will go through tough days (or weeks, or months) before things get better, and that’s okay. Healing is a process that takes time.
Also, follow up with them regularly. Instead of saying, “Are you feeling better today?” ask, “How are you feeling/doing today?” This phrasing will allow them to be more honest and not feel pressure to be doing better if they aren’t.
“I’m Here For You if You Need Anything”
Let them know that you can’t imagine what they’re going through but you’re here if they need to talk or if they need anything else.
If they want to talk about the accident, give them the space to do so. Don’t force them to discuss the accident if they aren’t comfortable. Just be there to listen.
Also, remember that this person has not changed just because they were in a car accident. They may need some time to process what happened. If they are in the hospital or have severe injuries, your presence may mean a lot.
“What Can I Do for You?”
Life does not stop just because of a car accident. On top of injuries and vehicle damage, the person still has daily responsibilities to worry about. They may be worried about getting back to work, paying their bills, and caring for their kids or pets.
Look for ways to lessen the burden. Ask what would help. Maybe that means:
- Bringing dinner for the week
- Picking up their kids from school
- Lending a hand around the house (laundry, vacuuming, etc.)
- Giving them rides while their vehicle is in the shop
- Bringing them things to do while in the hospital
- Or just visiting regularly to lend an ear
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What You Can Do for Your Friend Without Having to Ask
If your friend is facing substantial medical bills and vehicle repair costs, you might consider getting together with your community to assist with their sudden expenses. That could mean starting a GoFundMe or another fundraising campaign, such as a bake sale or t-shirt sale, to help their family.
In addition, if the person was not at fault for their accident and they live in a fault state like Georgia, they may be entitled to compensation for accident costs. You might be able to help them start the insurance claim process or contact a car accident lawyer.
What Should You Say if They Survived but Lost a Loved One in a Car Accident?
There’s nothing you can say to ease the grief of losing a loved one in a car accident. It’s especially hard for someone who survived the accident when their loved one did not.
The most you can do is simply be there for them. The above advice still applies. Be there to listen and help in any way you can, even if all you can do is offer words of comfort after a car accident.
If you two are close and both knew the deceased, you might feel comfortable talking about their life together. However, make sure your grieving friend is ready for this.
What Should You NOT Say to Someone Who Just Had a Car Accident?
Support is most important, and that includes not making the person feel worse. What not to say is mostly common sense, but just in case, here are some phrases to avoid.
“Don’t Be So Upset. Cheer Up!”
Immediately following a car crash, your friend may act unusually gloomy or irritable. Someone who has just been in a car accident will experience strong emotions afterward. Car accidents are unexpected, painful, and very stressful.
Car accident survivors may suffer:
- Serious injuries, life-long disabilities
- Emotional trauma like depression, anxiety, or PTSD
- High medical bills and other costs
Anyone in a car accident will need time to work through how they’re feeling. Even if it’s well-intentioned, it’s important to avoid phrases that suggest your loved one should feel differently than they do. It’s not possible to just “stop being sad” or “get over it.” Telling them to cheer up right after an accident may interfere with their healing process.
“You Should [Insert Advice]”
Avoid giving advice on what the person should do to get over the accident—unless they specifically ask for advice.
They are likely already overwhelmed with medical treatment, getting their car repaired, and dealing with insurance. The last thing you want to do is add another task to their to-do list.
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What if You Cannot Visit Your Loved One in Person?
Hugging someone or simply holding their hand can be very reassuring. Unfortunately, between hospitals’ strict visitation policies and personal decisions to self-isolate, an in-person visit may not be an option. If your friend simply doesn’t want company right now, you can still let them know they are in your thoughts.
Depending on your internet connection, a video call can be the next best thing to an in-person visit. Video calls let you feel like you are in the same room no matter how far away you are. You can even make it a party by including other coworkers, friends, family members.
If you are calling someone in a hospital or nursing facility, there may be an activity director or someone else who can help coordinate or initiate video calls. Some popular video call apps include:
Not everyone will want to be seen on a video call after a car crash. Injuries to the head or face can affect a person’s body image or self-confidence. In which case, you can use a traditional phone call to get in touch with someone after an accident.
Another way to check in with someone after they suffer a bad car crash is through texting. If you are wondering what to text someone who was in a car accident, you can say anything you normally would in person. You can also send funny pictures, memes, or GIFs to brighten their day.
If you happen to be traveling at the time of the accident, you can send a postcard saying you want to follow up. You can also send a “Get Well” card or write a letter. If you are still uncertain about what to say to someone who had an accident, this will give you more time to collect your thoughts. You can include a photograph, a drawing, or stickers.
If you want to mail something bigger, you can put together a care package. You could put together some activity books, snacks, and toys. Or you could include practical items like toiletries. Whatever you decide to send will be much appreciated. It’s fun to get something in the mail.
Make Something Special
If you still don’t know what to say to someone who got injured in an accident, remember there are other ways to let someone know you care. You could express yourself with something homemade. If you don’t know how to knit or craft anything, you could bake a batch of cookies.
If you can’t visit in person, these other ways to communicate allow you to comfort someone who suffered a horrific car wreck.
What Legal Advice Can You Give a Friend After a Car Accident?
On the legal side, someone in a car accident may need a personal injury lawyer or wrongful death lawyer if the accident was caused by another driver.
While no one wants to think about the law after a tragic accident, taking action is important if a person is entitled to compensation.
A personal injury attorney can help a car accident victim recover damages for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Vehicle repair costs
Filing a claim after an accident can make a world of difference. The best advice you can give is to tell them to call a lawyer who can help.
You Can Help Your Friend Gather Crucial Evidence to Help Their Case
You can help your friend gather strong evidence so when they file their car accident claim, they have all their bases covered. This includes:
- Helping them see a doctor for their injuries as soon as possible
- Taking pictures of their injuries, vehicle damage, and (if possible) the accident scene
- Collecting the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information
- Keeping track of all medical bills, repair quotes, and other expenses from the accident
Imagine How Someone May Feel After Surviving a Car Crash
When thinking about what to say after someone has just had a car accident, try to put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Car accidents, whether they are minor or extreme, can deeply affect those involved. They have just been in a very dangerous situation—and they survived. There is a range of emotions that can emerge from this experience.
They might be thinking about how lucky they were but they may also experience feelings of guilt if others were hurt, or even killed. Someone in a car accident can also have painful injuries that last a long time. Unfortunately, some injuries never fully heal.
Additionally, an accident can cause psychological trauma for many, many years. Car crash survivors may struggle with getting behind the wheel for fear of getting into another accident. It’s important to understand that these feelings are very common—and very real.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Review Your Friend’s Case for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we’re here to help car accident victims for over 20 years. We understand how to respond if someone is met with an accident on the road and what to do next.
To schedule a FREE consultation and discuss your friend’s best options with our expert personal injury lawyers, call or contact us online today. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call.