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Barring serious injury, here are steps to take after a crash

If you have never been in a car crash, you might not know what to do if it should happen to you. Even minor collisions are everyday occurrences, though, so it helps to have a post-accident plan.

Once your nerves have settled down a bit, here are six steps to take in the aftermath of a vehicle accident.

Follow post-crash basics

Your first task is to make sure your vehicle is no longer moving. Turn off your engine and put the vehicle in park before getting out. If it is blocking traffic and you can safely do so, move it to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.

Check everyone for injuries

First, check yourself for injuries, then see to everyone else involved in the accident. If there appear to be serious injuries, or even something as seemingly minor as dizziness, call 911.

Make necessary calls

After you call for EMT support, call the police, even if the crash is a minor fender-bender. The law enforcement officer will make out a report, and you should request a copy to give to your attorney: he or she should be on your “necessary calls” list. Finally, call your insurance company and report the crash.

Collect information

You and the other driver should exchange basic insurance and contact information, but it is a good idea to keep conversation to a minimum. Jot down information such as the location of the accident, the license plate number of the other car, contact information for any witnesses and the name and badge number of the law enforcement personnel who come to the crash site.

Snap photos

Use your cellphone to snap pictures of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, markers such as a street sign or a nearby business. If you have a visible injury, take a picture of that, as well.

Seek medical attention

Visit a doctor promptly. While you may feel fine, there may be underlying injuries that do not show up at first. The medical report, along with the information you collect, will be very important in terms of filing a claim for financial compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.

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