If you drive, you’ll probably experience a car accident at some point in your life. Even if you’re a superb driver, that doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Sooner or later, another vehicle is bound to run into you.

In most cases, it’s just a fender bender, and you can get back to business as usual with a quick exchange of insurance information and some paperwork. However, sometimes you might be in a severe accident, and that can change your entire life.


Here are five distinct ways your life can change after a serious car wreck.

Your Attitude Might Change

Complex collisions can take longer to investigate, and you might not be sure right after what happened whose fault it was. Once you can determine that, you’ll know whether you owe money or you’re getting some instead.

Your entire attitude may change after a car accident, though, regardless of whether you have to pay the other driver out of pocket or they’re paying you. You might feel:

• Depressed about what happened
• Worried that you may get in another accident when you’re ready to drive again


In extreme cases, the happiest people might not resemble themselves anymore after bad car wrecks. You may feel certain that something similar is going to happen, and it might take months or years till you get back to your old self again. In some situations, it may never happen.

You Might Live Much More Frugally

If the accident is your fault, the law might call you into court to answer for what happened. You’ll need to:

• Hire a defense lawyer
• Try to get the lowest judgment against you that you can


When the collision is your fault, though, you’ll have to pay your lawyer, and you’ll also have to pay the other driver at least something if your insurance doesn’t cover everything you owe. You might have to drain your savings, liquidate your CDs or IRA (certificate deposits are different from savings account), or other drastic measures to cover the bill.

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After that, you’ll need to live much more frugally for a time. You probably won’t be able to afford vacations or fancy restaurants. You’ll need to tighten your belt as you gradually try to recoup all the money you lost.

You May Have to Take Public Transportation

Another possible lifestyle change might have to do with your transportation options. If you totaled your car in the wreck, you may not have the cash to buy or lease a new one, especially if you have to pay the lawyer and the other driver.

subway prank

You may be stuck taking the bus or train to work for a while. Some people already do that, but for others, their car is a huge part of their identity. You might love your vehicle, and getting along without it might depress you.

Try to remember that it’s not forever, and at some point in the future, you’ll likely be able to get a replacement car.

You May Have PTSD

You also may have PTSD after the accident. PTSD happens to many people in war, or if they survive an assault or robbery. Others who survive natural disasters like tornados and hurricanes get it too.


If you do have PTSD, then you might not even be able to get back in a car again for a while. Vehicles could trigger flashbacks of the wreck, and you may end up petrified every time you try to get in the passenger’s seat.

You’ll probably need to get counseling and work your way back gradually. It may take several months or even longer before you’re ready to drive or ride in a car with the same confidence that you once had.

You May Need to Stop Drinking or Using Drugs

If you caused the crash by drinking before you drove or were on recreational drugs, you’ll need to make some serious lifestyle changes. It’s a poor decision to drive if you’re under the influence, and you should have known better than to do it.

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Let’s hope that you didn’t injure yourself or anyone else too badly in the wreck. The court will probably order you to attend AA or NA meetings until you can pull yourself together. You might not think you have a problem, but causing a car accident while under the influence says otherwise.

Your life may change in many ways if you’re in an accident, but in time, with some hard work, you can probably return to your normal life.