There is rarely anything more gut-wrenching than hearing that somebody close to you has had an accident. Not just an everyday incident but a potentially life-changing ordeal. The first instinct is to panic or be affected with sadness, however it’s during this crucial time that you can be a really powerful support system to the person directly affected.
- Emotional support
It is likely that the individual involved will be going through emotional turmoil post-incident. As a friend or family member we would encourage you to be a listener and fully pay attention to them, offer words of comfort and more than anything – don’t treat them any differently than you did before. This can be a really tough thing to do but long-term they will be extraordinarily grateful for those initial moments of normality in a horrific scenario.
- Look into their legal rights and options
Post-trauma for the individual concerned, it can be damaging to even consider a lengthy court battle, adding stress on top of injury. However, if the accident was not their fault or even partially at fault and proved fatal or life-changing, the levels of compensation can assist the individual or family in a time of distress.
Getting the right legal representation is vital and so is doing your homework to ensure that those representing the individual involved have the right skill set to deal with the case; the right level of empathy, technical and procedural skill set to ensure no stone is left unturned. And importantly they are there for the long haul, fighting every corner whilst carefully managing expectations.
Depending on the injuries suffered and the type of accident, a capable and helping hand can make all the difference providing vital help in relation to aspects that you or the individual concerned will not have thought of.
- Aid their recovery
If the accident has not proven fatal and once you have a clearer path of circumstances or potential recoveries it is an even more important time to be there for them. In many cases, after the initial shock has worn off, supporters go back to their everyday lives and move forward. This is completely understandable. However, the individual of the accident is already going to feel isolated and disadvantaged without feeling deserted on top.
Ensure that your support is consistent. Many people that have survived a serious accident can become very proud and unable to accept help. However, perhaps bringing over that dinner may save them a night of anguish trying to pull something together. Of course, don’t overstep your boundaries and take this in a case-by-case basis, but just allowing them to know you are there for them will make a monumental difference.
- Don’t hesitate to get mental health support yourself
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. The chances of you suffering one after a potentially traumatic and frightening experience heightens further. In fact, it can be very disturbing watching somebody you love and care for deal with something that is out of their control. It is important to notice any signs this may be having on your own mental health.
Friends and family of people who have experienced serious accidents can generally experience a strong sense of guilt when reacting badly to it. They feel that they don’t deserve to react so bad when they haven’t been through it themselves, but this could be damaging for you. How can you fully ‘be there’ for someone if it is so negatively affecting you as well? Never be afraid to reach out for help and support.