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Whether you were in a minor fender-bender or a serious crash, a car accident can have an impact on your health, your ability to travel and your life. Taking the right steps after an accident can help protect you and ensure that you have the support you need.

1. Get to safety.

First and foremost, get yourself and your passengers to safety. If you can pull your car to the side of the road, do so. Turn on your hazard lights to keep other vehicles safe and move to a safe location if possible.

2. Contact the authorities.

As Allstate notes, contacting the authorities is important whether your accident was minor or severe. Reporting an accident to the police ensures that the scene is well-documented and ensures that a police report can be given to your insurance company.

You may also want to identify the officers who come to the scene and to get a copy of the police report.

3. Get medical attention.

If someone is seriously injured, call an ambulance to care for their injuries. In accidents where there are no severe injuries apparent, you should still visit urgent care for examination just in case you have an injury that does not have immediate symptoms.

4. Exchange contact information.

Be sure to exchange contact information with any other drivers involved in the accident. This information should include:

  • Name and contact information
  • Driver’s license number
  • Vehicle information including the type, color, model and license plate number
  • Date, time and location of the accident
  • Insurance company policy information

This information will allow you to make an insurance claim or take legal action against the other driver.

5. Contact your insurance company.

Even seemingly minor damage could cost thousands of dollars to repair. Filing a claim with your insurance company is one key way to cover the cost of repairing your vehicle.

6. Speak to an attorney.

In accidents that caused significant injuries or severe damage, crashes that involve pedestrians or collisions where you have questions about who is liable, consider speaking for an attorney. They can help you work with insurance companies after your accident to get the compensation you need and hold negligent drivers responsible.