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What should you do after a car accident?

No one expects a car crash. You might just be driving down the highway, listening to some music and thinking about the coming weekend. Suddenly you hear screeching and feel a sharp jolt as the airbag hits your face.

A car accident can be shocking, and you may have no idea what to do. There are steps you need to take after a car accident to ensure the best outcome for yourself.

Make sure the situation is safe

First things first—you need to get off the road. Not only are you in danger sitting in the middle of traffic, you are creating a hazard for other drivers. Pull over to the side of the road and turn your car off.

If another driver was involved in the accident, get out of the car and talk to them—if it is safe to do so. Do not apologize or admit fault.

Collect information

The next step is to call the police and gather as much information as you can. Talking to the officers and any witnesses on the scene can help you with future insurance and legal issues. The information you should get includes:

  • The other driver’s contact information
  • Driver’s license and license plate numbers
  • Insurance policy numbers
  • Pictures of the scene of the accident and the damage to both cars
  • The police officers’ contact information
  • A copy of the police accident report

If you don’t have proof of what happened and how, things might not go your way when you are trying to seek compensation for the accident.

See a doctor

Once you leave the scene of the accident, medical attention should be your next priority. You may have a serious injury that you don’t even know about yet. Whiplash—one of the most common car crash injuries—may take hours or even days to start hurting.

Besides checking whether you have any serious injuries, going to the doctor can also help your personal injury case. If you are going to seek damages from the other driver, you’ll want to have proof of all the injuries you sustained from the accident. A diagnosis from your doctor can be helpful when you are looking for compensation.

After the dust settles, you may still be left with damage to your car, physical injuries, an inability to work as well as emotional pain and suffering. Having a personal injury attorney handle your claim for you can get you compensation for all of these damages—far beyond what you could receive by settling directly with the insurance company. It can also save you considerable time and stress—and allow you to focus your energy on healing.