No one wants to get in a car accident. However, in heavy traffic, or after a heavy rainfall or after unexpected ice storm, or if even you are just driving to work, accidents happen. A crash usually occurs in an instant, 77% of the time less than 15 miles from home. In the moments after a crash, you often are bewildered and shaken up, possibly even needing medical attention.

That’s why after any accident, you immediately should take these seven steps for the best outcome:

  1. Stop and check for any injuries, for you and the other driver. Also, call emergency personnel if needed and call the police to file a report.
  2. Don’t admit fault for the accident. Your insurance company will handle determining if you were the cause of the accident. Also, if the accident occurs outside of Louisiana, in a no-fault state, your car insurance’s personal injury protection most likely will be covering the costs of any injuries.
  3. Collect and share information with the other driver. You need to know the other driver’s name, address and phone number, as well as their insurance company name, their policy number, a description of their car and its license number. You need to provide them with the same information, but you don’t need to give them your driver’s license number.
  4. Gather contact information for any witnesses to the accident. You never know if you might need information from witnesses later if your insurance or the other driver’s contests covering some of property damage costs or injury treatment costs.
  5. Take photos with your cell phone of the crash site and document the damages to both vehicles. Also, note the street the accident occurred on, at what time it happened, and the direction you were traveling in and the direction the other car was going. Adding a quick note on your phone with this information, as well as the driving conditions, is an easy task.
  6. Don’t refuse medical attention on the scene. You want any injuries well-documented. Also, seek medical attention right away if you find yourself barely being able to move the next day or the day after that. Often symptoms of soft-tissue injuries don’t surface right away. Sometimes, you might not feel pain until weeks after a car accident.
  7. Contact your insurance agency to report the accident. If you suffered serious injuries or have difficulty getting your insurance or the other driver’s to cover your medical bills or lost wages, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help push for fair compensation for your injuries, so you can focus more time on getting better.

By following these seven steps after a car accident, you’ll protect yourself better for getting the most coverage for your property damage and/or injury claim. You’ll also be on the road to recovery faster for any injuries you’ve suffered.