“I’m calling about my friend who was just in a car accident…”
We get a surprising number of calls from good people who are helping out a family member or friend after a car crash. What do you do when you want to help out, but you don’t want to be in the way?
Helping a friend after a car crash
In the hours and days after someone is seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash, they may not know how to ask for help—or even understand what they really need.
We have gathered some practical tips for you.
Helping with groceries and meals
Providing meals and groceries is one of the most practical things you can do to help an injured friend.
Cooking: Providing food to someone you care about is a time-honored tradition. If you are a person with the time and inclination to cook and deliver, go for it—as long as you can do so safely.
Calendar: Set up and share a calendar for other people to send over dinner—for example, mealtrain.com. Check in with everyone to go over dietary needs, food allergies and preferences.
Groceries: If you are local, pick up some staples for the injured person. Better yet, check and see what they need for a few days worth of meals.
Delivery Option: Order them dinner for delivery, or just give a gift card. Delivery services like Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grub Hub are available in most towns.
Some restaurants are offering special menus or discounts for take-out or delivery— a great way to provide a meal for a friend while supporting a local business.
Recommended Article: Where Do Most Crashes Happen?
Helping with household tasks
Some car insurance policies do include coverage for household assistance. But tt can take several weeks or months for an insurance company to provide that, and in the meantime, most people are on their own for everything.
Think about all of the things you do on a daily or weekly basis, and imagine trying to do them while you’re seriously injured. If you are able to put on a mask and gloves and lend a hand, these are some of the kindest services you can offer.
- Cleaning: washing dishes, vacuuming, taking out the trash—every little task is more complicated for your friend right now.
- Laundry: this is often cited by our injured client as one of the most difficult chores to keep up because of the physical labor involved.
- Pet care: Most of us can’t be available to walk someone’s dog or feed their cat every day, but arranging a schedule with another friend or two could be a huge help.
- Errands: Picking up prescriptions or other urgent needs can be a huge help, especially for folks who can’t (or aren’t ready to) drive.
The game-changer: Children. If your injured friend has kids at home, obviously the situation becomes more complicated. They will need all of the help detailed above, and probably more.
Bring fun toys. Help arrange play dates. And make sure someone contacts the child’s school to let them know about the crash.
Help your friend keep track of all of the additional expenses after a car crash. These may be covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of their car insurance.
Helping with insurance and bills
A few things that usually have to happen in the aftermath of a car accident.
Medical care and treatment. As medical professionals know, it is most important that an injured person get the proper and recommended care. Transportation to doctor’s appointments can be a big obstacle.
Even if their car isn’t totaled, and injuries don’t prevent a person from driving, medications often do. Also, many people are very hesitant to get behind the wheel after a serious crash. If you can, offer to help with transportation.
Filing an insurance claim. Someone will need to start the insurance claim process (see: How to Open an Insurance Claim.)
While the injured person or next-of-kin probably needs to be in charge of this step, it might help if someone else can take photos of the damaged vehicles, and the location of the crash.
Of course we recommend that a person who was not at fault in a crash talk with a lawyer as soon as possible. Lawyers always say that, and for good reasons.
Helpful Reading: Does Speeding Save Time
How we can help:
Protecting legal rights. When a person is hurt or killed in a crash, there is a limited amount of time to take action to protect legal rights. If there was a commercial truck or any government-owned or commercial vehicle involved, it may be a very limited amount of time.
Preserving evidence. Evidence does not last forever. Unless you act to preserve evidence, even the vehicles involved may be altered or destroyed. And If a commercial vehicle was involved in a crash, then the company’s investigators start gathering evidence and making their case immediately. Official letters need to be sent out to make sure the evidence isn’t destroyed.
Assisting with insurance and bills. This can become very overwhelming for injured people. Our office is set up to help with the insurance claim process and deal with the technical details.
We can—and often do— speak with a family representative.
It is very common that a seriously injured person is not ready to discuss practicalities. The sad fact is, while they are trying to recover their health and well-being, insurance companies are already taking action.
Protecting legal right to file a lawsuit does not mean you must file a lawsuit: it just means you have legal options. Get more information.
You do NOT need to actually go into a lawyer’s office for a free consultation, or to sign up as a client. It is legal—and currently, much safer—to talk to a lawyer by phone or video conference, and sign documents remotely.
While we would never want to quibble with a kind person asking how to help a friend after a car accident, we do have one quick note. Most car accidents aren’t accidents at all: they are predictable, preventable crashes.
And after being in a car accident caused by someone else’s bad driving, most people are willing to consider saying “crash” instead of “accident.”
More on that: Why we use crash instead of accident…