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Even though you do your best to avoid trouble on the road, you could still be part of an accident due to another driver’s negligence. Knowing what to do after a crash will help you make decisions that enhance your safety and well-being.

Here are the five most important steps to take after a car accident:

  • Check for injuries: Before you do anything, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. You may not feel any pain at first, so pay attention to your body as you begin to calm down. Don’t be surprised if symptoms begin to set in after several minutes (or longer).
  • Move to safety: It’s not always possible, but if you can move your vehicle to a safe place you should do so. For example, if you’re involved in a highway accident, drive to the shoulder of the road. In the city, you may be able to move to a parking lot.
  • Call 911: Even if you think you have everything under control, you want to call 911 to explain what happened. This is also a good way to ensure that police and paramedics rush to the scene to provide assistance.
  • Document the accident: In addition to exchanging information with the other driver, do the following: Take pictures of the scene and your injuries, talk to witnesses, make note of the police department that responded and find out how to obtain a copy of the police report.
  • Receive medical treatment: You should accept care at the scene and transportation to a local hospital. It’s better to be safe than sorry with your health. Hoping that you can treat your injuries at home is a mistake, as you never know exactly what’s happening with your body until you receive a professional diagnosis.

After you do these things, you can then contact your insurance company to file a claim. When doing so, don’t feel pressured to answer any questions that you don’t understand.

As you recover, don’t lose sight of the fact that you were a victim in the accident. You should carefully review the details of the crash, with the idea that you may be able to take additional steps to seek compensation from the negligent driver or other parties deemed liable. Protecting your legal rights at this time is something you should take seriously.