Road Traffic Accident scene

How to Make Someone Feel Better After a Car Accident?

March 28, 2024

For anybody, being in a car accident can be serious, life-threatening, and even have financial implications. So, if a loved one or a friend has experienced such a traumatic event, your support can be invaluable in their recovery process. This guide explores ways to help someone feel better after a car accident, focusing on emotional healing, practical support, and the long-term recovery journey. Let’s dive in!

Immediate Aftermath: The First Steps

Right after an accident, the most critical step is ensuring everyone's physical safety. If your loved one or friend hasn’t yet been for a medical evaluation, now’s the time to encourage them to do so. Some injuries only present themselves later on, so ensuring they’ve been given the all-clear should be a priority. 

Once that's established, the emotional support phase begins: know that your presence, whether physical or over the phone, can provide immense comfort. Whether simply by offering a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on, being there for a loved one - without pressing for details about the accident - lets them know they're not alone.

Listening and Validation

Listening without judgement is one of the most significant forms of support you can offer, especially if the person may have been partly at fault for the accident. Acknowledge their feelings - whether it be regret, guilt, or resentment - validate their experience, and reassure them that their reactions are normal but temporary. Avoid minimising their feelings or rushing their recovery process; let them lead the conversation at their pace.

Avoiding Blame and Judgement

It's incredibly important to avoid placing blame or passing judgement, especially if you don’t yet have all the details. Car accidents can lead to a complex mix of emotions, including guilt and shame, so rather than dwelling on these, reinforce that the priority is their well-being and recovery, not dissecting the events that led to the accident.

Assisting with Practical Matters

The aftermath of an accident involves a myriad of practical tasks, from insurance claims to medical appointments, both of which can be overwhelming. If you’re able to, offer your help with these tasks - sometimes, just knowing these matters are being handled can significantly reduce stress and allow your friend or loved one to focus on recovery.

Offering to Connect with Professionals

You can also try encouraging a loved one to seek professional help if necessary. The impact of accidents on mental health is no joke, and professional guidance can be a cornerstone of recovery. 

For more practical support, you could also try suggesting they seek legal advice or accident recovery services - this can take the weight off their shoulders on the administrative side of things, and ultimately support the healing journey.

Encouraging Self-Care

Self-care is a vital part of the recovery process, so it’s a good idea to encourage activities that promote physical and mental well-being, such as eating nutritious foods, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and engaging in gentle exercise if possible. Remind them that it's okay to take time for themselves, and that self-care is not selfish.

Respecting Boundaries

Finally, it's important to respect boundaries and recognise when your loved one needs space. After all, everyone's healing process is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Pay attention to their cues and adjust your support accordingly - they’ll thank you for it in the end.


How can I help someone with their emotional recovery if they don’t want to talk about the accident?

If your loved one doesn’t want to talk about the accident, you can still show up and support them in other ways. Sometimes, offering silent companionship, like sitting together in the same room doing different activities, can be comforting. Over time, your loved one might open up, but if they don't, remember that people process trauma in various ways, and your understanding and presence alone can be very supportive.

What if the person I’m trying to help keeps pushing me away?

It's not uncommon for individuals who've experienced trauma to push others away, often as a coping mechanism or because they're processing complex emotions. Give them space but let them know you're available whenever they're ready to connect. You can send them messages letting them know you're thinking of them or offer help in non-invasive ways, like dropping off a meal. 

How do I know if professional help is needed?

Some signs that professional help might be beneficial include persistent sadness, anxiety, sleep disturbances, flashbacks, or significant changes in mood or behaviour lasting more than a few weeks. Encouraging a conversation about how they're feeling can be a start. Suggesting professional help as an option for feeling better, rather than a last resort, can make the idea more approachable. If they're open to it but hesitant, offering to help them find a therapist or even go with them to the first appointment can make the process less daunting.