The latest data from the Department for Transport states that there were 160,378 casualties reported in road traffic accidents in 2018. Of these, over 25,000 serious injuries were reported to the police.
These shocking statistics show that a road traffic accident is unfortunately a common trauma that many people have suffered. But everyone has their own story to tell. This is Amelia’s.
“The memory is imprinted in my mind… it’s like a loss of control”
Amelia and her mum were on their way to a restaurant for dinner one evening when the accident happened. Her mum was driving the car and Amelia was in the passenger seat. As they approached a mini roundabout, another car hit into the passenger side of their vehicle, pushing them to the other side of the road.
The collision caused a huge dent in the passenger side which jammed the door shut, leaving Amelia unable to get out. Realising her only escape was the driver’s side, she managed to push herself out of the vehicle and onto the side of the road.
“I didn’t realise I was injured, but then 48 hours later I started to get severe pain. My shoulders had seized up, I was getting pain in my neck and a headache at the back of my head. That’s when I realised I’d obviously injured myself.”
Due to her injuries, Amelia struggled at work. As a nurse, her role on the ward involves pushing hospital beds and trolleys of medication around for various patients. When she couldn’t do this due to the pain, she realised she needed to seek help for her injuries. She worried about having to take time off work and the expense of obtaining necessary treatment.
Her financial worries were relieved after successfully obtaining compensation, allowing her to get help from both a chiropractor and physiotherapist. An active gym-goer, Amelia hadn’t been able to go to the gym since the accident, and she’d found that very difficult. Her chiropractor advised her to start attending the gym again to help with her mobility, so she sought assistance from a personal trainer.
“I just couldn’t do it, I was in too much pain. I decided I’d listen to my body and rest, and slowly build back up, but I still haven’t got my confidence back.”
This was when Amelia started to realise that her experience and her injuries were affecting her mental wellbeing. Unable to carry out her usual work tasks, do her household chores or go to the gym, she started to feel depressed and worried that she wouldn’t fully recover. She lost her confidence and felt demoralised having to ask those around her for help with everything.
“When I was in a lot of pain and having to tell my colleagues, it did make me feel quite down and obviously that led to more depression and anxiety. It was very difficult.”
Unfortunately, injuries and mental health issues are intrinsically linked – our Make It Right campaign has found that 3 out of 4 people who experienced an accident that wasn’t their fault experienced mental health issues as a direct result.
As well as feeling stressed and depressed due to her injuries, Amelia also suffered from anxiety when in the car.
“After the accident, getting in the passenger seat of anyone’s car used to give me anxiety. I remember being in the car next to my boyfriend and thinking he was getting too close to a lorry in front, and feeling myself sort of jerk as my natural reaction was kicking in. I still get nervous now.”
Amelia is not alone in feeling anxious after her experience. In fact, our research has shown that 66% of people feel nervous around the site of their accident. In some instances, people may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their accident, which can present various symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, flashbacks and nightmares.
As her physical symptoms improved, Amelia started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and knew that things weren’t going to be this way forever. As her pain eased and she was able to go back to the gym and get back to her normal duties at work, she started to feel more like herself again. She has learned how to cope with anxiety and stress in a way that works for her.
“I’ve been doing mindfulness and yoga which has helped with [my] depression, anxiety and negative thinking. Doing breathing exercises has really helped a lot.”
Amelia reached out to us for help after her accident. She wanted to get to grips with what she should do next and to see if she could get compensation to help fund her essential treatment.
“I was just so happy to have the weight taken off me and for someone else to just take control of the situation. I remember the lady was really friendly, really reassuring and it was so straightforward – everything clicked into place.”
How we can help
After going through a traumatic experience such as a car accident, people are often in pain, shock and feel frustrated about what’s happened to them. On top of that, they may not be able to work and may worry about paying their bills. We think it’s wrong for them to be stressed about money on top of everything else, which is why we want to help make it right.
If you have gone through a similar situation to Amelia and your personal injury affected your mental health, you may benefit from compensation. If you would like support or advice about your situation, get in touch with us on 0800 376 0150.