What To Do If Injured In A Car Accident

What To Do If Injured In A Car Accident

South Africa has a very high car accident rate, so what should you do if injured in a car accident? There are certain times, mainly weekends, long weekends and holidays, in which car accidents are prevalent. 


According to the Car Accident and Road Safety Report, South Africa has made strides in reducing road crash fatalities since its peak in 2006. Notably, there was a decrease in road fatalities by 8% in 2018 (12 921) from 14 050 in 2017. The 12 921 road deaths were reported for a mortality rate of 22.4 per 100 000 inhabitants.


What To Do If Injured In A Car Accident

Legally, you are required to call the police to come to the scene, especially if anyone has been seriously injured or killed, says Arrive Alive. You should also contact the police if you suspect any of the drivers involved in the accident are under the influence.

iER has a network of first responders to assist you in an event like a car accident. Find out more here.

  • Get details of other drivers
  • Ask for any witnesses to remain till the cops arrive
  • Write down the registration and licence numbers of other vehicles involved in the accident.

The physical and mental effects of a car accident

Car accidents can bring physical pain and emotional hardships. Many people think that physical injuries are the only memories crash victims face, but many car accident survivors deal with stress, anxiety and mental conditions for weeks, months or years after the incident.

According to Dawson Law Firm, nearly 2.5 million people get seriously hurt or disabled in car accidents every year. You may not even realise the long-term physical and emotional effects when the accident occurs, but it comes up eventually.


What Happens To Your Body After A Car Accident

There is no actual preparation you can do to stop the trauma of a car accident. However, there are things you can do, such as address any physical concerns first. A complete diagnosis of any injuries can tell you whether a treatment plan is necessary or whether your health is in critical condition. 

Physical damage is either seen straight away or becomes noticeable after the accident. Here’s some advice on what to do if you are physically harmed during a car crash.

Cuts and burns

Common physical injuries in a car accident are cuts and burns. The severity of a car accident may impact you with broken glass, shards of metal or fragments that cause cuts. 

Car parts heat up in a car crash, and you may burn if touched by a specific part. Sometimes combusted fuel tanks or fuel lines explode when you are in a car accident, resulting in severe burns. The cuts and burns need immediate treatment to avoid potential skin infections.

Tissue damage and fractures

Tissue damage and fractures may be challenging to spot with medical attention. There are people who experience an increase in adrenaline after a car crash and think they are physically fine. You may feel so fine that you don’t realise that you’ve fractured a bone. This can be found out by feeling pain or after doing an x-ray. 

Tissue damage looks similar to severe skin bruising, and it is usually seen days after your accident. For some people, tissue damage can lead to long-term problems.

Back and spine injuries

Back and spine injuries vary after a car accident. What you may think is a fast healing sprain can turn into temporary or permanent paralysis. 

Back pain after a car accident should be looked at by your doctor. It may not be simple back pain and can be a long-term injury that requires a deeper look.

Losing limbs

It is rare that you lose limbs in a car accident, but it is not impossible. A lost limb leads to other complications, such as mobility difficulties, blood clots, infection or ongoing pain.


People die in car accidents every day around the world. In some places, road traffic collisions constantly kill people between 15 and 29. Also, a known fact is that majority of people who die in car accidents are passengers, and if the driver had followed road safety rules, the outcome might have been different.

Emotional effects

The general focus is usually on physical injuries more than developing emotional damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are other mental injuries that lead to emotional effects, such as irrational fears, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunctions, anger management, flashbacks and feelings of shame.

An injury can change your life – you may experience a lack of enjoyment, depression and other impaired and restricted emotional symptoms. Mental damage can last longer than physical damage and change your daily lifestyle. 


Anxiety is a mental trauma effect that may creep up on you after a traumatic event. Physical symptoms of anxiety include physical symptoms, such as panic attacks or nausea.

Your anxiety can trigger in the passenger seat of a car, or you may prefer not to drive at all until you are ready. Social anxiety is also part of being anxious and affects spending time with your friends and family.


Getting over the trauma of your car crash takes time. As much as it is essential to move forward with your life after such an incident, it may not be as easy. 

Depression can make you feel sleep-deprived, sad and have no interest in taking part in your daily routine. Seeing a doctor may help. Your doctor can assist with a proper diagnosis on how to regain control.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is common for you to go through after a traumatic event. You may feel hyper-aware of your surroundings and react abnormally fast. People with PTSD can also come across as being emotionally numb and having trouble relaxing or sleeping. 

If you think you have PTSD, visit your doctor for confirmation. 

Change is inevitable

Everyone responds differently to traumatic events. Behaviour changes are inevitable. If you feel any of the above physical and mental effects, approach your doctor and discuss the possibility of therapy and counselling.


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