If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know just how chaotic it can be. Even if you do your best to remain calm, it seems like everything around you is moving at 100 miles per hour.

Fortunately, when you know the steps to take after a car accident, it’s easier to slow down, keep your cool and get in the right frame of mind. Here’s what you should do:

  • Move to safety: Above all else, if you’re able to do so, move your vehicle to a safe place. On the highway, this is typically the shoulder of the road. In an urban setting, seek out a parking lot.
  • Stay where you are: You’re tempted to get out, check your vehicle for damage and talk to the other driver. It’s okay to do so this in a minor accident, but otherwise you should remain in your vehicle.
  • Examine yourself for injuries: You need to know if you’re dealing with a serious injury, as this will change what you do next. For example, if you suspect a broken bone or have a deep laceration, it’s critical to administer first aid, to the best of your ability, until help arrives.
  • Call 911: It’s better to be safe than sorry, so you should always call 911 after an accident. Explain what happened and ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance and police to the scene.
  • Receive medical treatment: It’s critical to do this, even if you don’t think you have a serious injury. You won’t know what you’re dealing with until you’re examined by a medical professional.
  • Review your insurance policy and file a claim: Once you understand your policy and coverage, file an insurance claim online or by contacting your agent directly. Provide basic information, but refrain from answering questions or signing anything.

When you take these steps after a car accident, you’ll feel better about your health and your ability to obtain compensation for your injuries, damage to your vehicle and other types of losses that could come into play.

You have legal rights and it’s up to you to take the necessary steps to protect them. Don’t let a negligent driver get away with causing you physical and financial harm.