Support for road crash victims

Scroll down to access all Brake’s support guides for road crash victims.

If you have been bereaved or seriously injured in a road crash or are helping someone who has, you are entitled to help from Brake’s National Road Victim Service. The service is an accredited, professional source of emotional support, practical information, referral to other sources of help, and advocacy to help you during this difficult time. Find out more here or call freephone 0808 8000 401 to meet your Brake Case Worker.

Support during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic

We recognise that being bereaved during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic will be challenging. Government restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus (such as social distancing and self-isolation) mean that many people cannot spend time with their loved one’s body after their death, nor hold a normal memorial gathering.

Faced with this particularly challenging type of bereavement, people may experience a range of difficult feelings and symptoms. How you react is normal for you, and understandable in the circumstances. Looking after yourself is the most important thing right now, and will help your recovery. Family and friends can also provide care and support to anyone who is grieving.

Our online support resources are still available to you (see links below). You may also find it useful to read some of the information on our Sudden website (supporting those bereaved by sudden death) that relates to bereavement during, and by, COVID-19:


Support after road death | Support after serious injury | Support after sudden death
Our standards, feedback & complaints | Government agency codes & standards | Giving back to Brake

support guides for roadcrash victims

Support following a death on the road

Coping with grief small
Coping with grief

This guide helps you understand common emotions and feelings following a road death. It provides straightforward advice on how to cope and who can help.

Coping with Grief web pages | translations and audio versions ).

bereavement guides
Information and advice for bereaved families and friends following a death on the road

These guides contain information on what happens after a crash, practical issues, investigations and criminal charges, court cases, claiming compensation, and useful organisations:

Road crash bereavement in England and Wales ( web pages | pdf | translations)
Road crash bereavement in Scotland ( web pages |  pdf | translations)
Road crash bereavement in Northern Ireland ( web pages | pdf )

bereaved children
Support books for children and their adult carers

When someone you love dies in a road crash it is a shattering experience, whether you are a grown up or a child. As a parent or carer, it can be particularly difficult to know what to say to bereaved children or how to behave around them.

Someone has died in a road crash is a picture book for children to read with adults after a road death. It uses simple language and colourful pictures to communicate important messages and encourage discussion and honesty between children and their carers. It is a simple way for families in distress to share emotions and support each other at a bleak time.

Helping children bereaved by road death is a guide for adults who are caring for children bereaved by a road crash.

Both books are available to order by calling the Brake helpline on 0808 8000 401 or you can ask your police contact.

You can also download both books for free here. Please click on the links below.

Children's book: Someone has died in a road crash (pdf)
Adult guide: Helping children bereaved by road death (pdf)

If you have been bereaved by a road crash then the police are required to give you printed copies of the above guides for bereaved adults and may also have copies of our books for bereaved children. If you have not received these, call our helpline on 0808 8000 401, to be sent free printed copies and access over-the-phone support and information. 

Support following a serious injury in a road crash

Intensive care
What happens in an intensive care unit?

This guide (last updated 2005) is for families whose loved ones are being cared for in an Intensive Care Unit. It covers emergency admission to hospital, staff and equipment in an ICU, practicalities, recovery or death in an ICU, and emotional support.

( web pages )

rehabilitation after a road crash injury
Information and advice following a serious injury in a road crash

This guide (last updated 2014) contains information on hospital, rehabilitation and disabilities, claiming compensation, investigations and criminal charges, coping with emotions and feelings, and useful organisations.

Support following sudden death by any cause

support after sudden death

Sudden is an initiative by Brake for suddenly bereaved people and the people caring for them. The vision of Sudden is a world where everyone suddenly bereaved gets the help they need at a time of darkness to move forwards to a brighter day. Our mission is to ease the suffering of people bereaved by any kind of sudden death.

bereavement counselling
Support for suddenly bereaved adults

Sudden provides free books for adults coping with a sudden bereavement. When someone you love dies suddenly is for people who have suffered the shattering experience of a loved one dying suddenly. It aims to help you understand emotions and feelings commonly suffered. It provides straightforward advice on how to cope and who can help you to recover. Find out more.

art therapy for bereaved children
Support for suddenly bereaved children

Hard copies of our book for children, Someone has died suddenly, are available to order free of charge. This book helps families and carers support suddenly bereaved children of all ages through their terrible shock and grief and help them to lead full and happy lives again. Find out more.

Order free copies of our book Someone has died suddenly, for suddenly bereaved children to read with a parent, guardian or carer.
support professionals
Support for professionals working with suddenly bereaved people

Sudden provides information to help professionals who are caring for people who have been suddenly bereaved by any cause, including COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find out more

Our standards, feedback and complaints

Brake’s support standards

Brake takes very seriously the requirement to meet the needs of people bereaved and seriously injured by road crashes, and to provide them with the best quality support we can.Read our support standards.

Feedback and complaints

Please give us feedback about Brake’s support and see our complaints policy.

Government agency codes and standards

Information about the standards of care that you are entitled to are outlined on our Government agency codes & standards page.

Giving back to Brake

Many of Brake’s supporters and volunteers have been affected by death or injury in a road crash and want to give something back to the cause, to help Brake campaign to stop more casualties and support other people who are injured or bereaved. There are lots of ways that you can get involved, including in memoriam donations and collections, fundraising, campaigning, and volunteering.

If you’d like to chat to us about ways to get involved, fill in our quick volunteer form.

Our funders

Brake's support guides are funded by public donation and by a number of agencies, including the Department for Transport, The Scottish Government and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.


For information about seeking legal support following a road crash, see Brake’s legal support webpage

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