A teen’s first car crash is never easy for parents. Of course, dealing with their physical injuries is your primary focus. However, it’s crucial not to ignore the potential psychological fallout as well. Even if they were a passenger in a crash when they were younger, that’s often not as traumatic as being at the wheel when it happens – even if another driver was responsible.
It’s important not to dismiss your teen’s feelings. Reassure them that it’s normal to feel sad, anxious, fearful or whatever they’re feeling. Encourage them to talk about it. Talking and/or writing about the crash can help a person process the thoughts that may feel like a jumble in their mind.
Getting behind the wheel again
It’s also normal for your teen to be afraid to get behind the wheel again. However, the longer they put it off (once they’re cleared by their doctor to drive), the harder it will be. Driving again should be part of their return to their normal activities.
It’s crucial not to push them to get on the road alone before they’re ready. An adult driver should be with them until they feel confident that they’re emotionally (and physically) able to drive on their own.
It may even be helpful for them to take a short course from a local driving school. Even if they did nothing to contribute to the crash, a few lessons focused on building up their confidence and watching out for reckless and negligent drivers may help them avoid another crash.
Professional help may be necessary
What if your teen isn’t bouncing back emotionally? What if the trauma of the crash still seems to be consuming their thoughts and interfering with their life? That’s when a mental health professional may be the answer. It’s not uncommon for people to seek psychological help to recover from a crash.
Don’t let the cost keep you from getting your teen the help they need. You can and should seek compensation for the psychological impact of a crash and the treatment needed to deal with it from the at-fault driver and their insurer. That’s just one reason why you should never accept a settlement before you know the full extent of both the economic and non-economic damages you’re dealing with. With experienced legal guidance, you can seek the compensation you deserve.