Plan your steps carefully after a car accident

Imagine that, as you're driving near the I-10/I-12 split, you're hit by another driver. Your next steps must be carefully planned, especially if you are injured in the crash and will need compensation for medical expenses and other damages.

When you are involved in an accident, you might not be able to think clearly. You may find that it is hard to determine what you need to do in the minutes and hours after the accident. Having a plan in mind ahead of time can help you if this unfortunate event happens. Here are a few things to remember.

Medical care is a priority.

It is important that you get the medical care you need. One of the first things that you must do is evaluate yourself to determine if you need emergency medical attention. You should also check the other occupants of your vehicle to see if they need medical care. When you call 911, make sure you let them know if you have been injured. You shouldn't feel silly for asking for help, even if you think that the injury you suffered was minor. Some injuries might not be readily noticeable due to the adrenaline and other factors. It is always best to err on the side of caution in these cases.

Pictures are important.

If you can, try to get pictures of the accident scene. These pictures can help put everything in context, particularly for your injury and property damage claims. You can try to get a picture of the entire scene, the damage to both vehicles, your injuries, and anything you feel might be significant. You need to make sure that you are taking your safety into consideration when you are snapping pictures. If it isn't safe to get a picture, don't try.

Document everything.

Get the other driver's information, as well as information from anyone who witnessed the accident. You should also keep records of any doctor appointments you have, how the injuries impact your life and anything else related to the crash or your injuries. All of this might help in your claim for compensation.

Be careful about what you say.

When discussing the accident with anyone, whether at the scene or later, never say anything that might make someone think that you blame yourself. You must choose your words carefully based on how they might be construed. This is important because you don't want something like saying "I'm sorry" coming up when you are in a battle for compensation after the accident. Of course, you should be fully honest when you are speaking with police officers, but only disclose the bare facts when speaking with an insurance adjuster. In fact, it's better that you talk to a lawyer first -- before talking to the insurance company. A personal injury attorney can handle all communications with the insurer and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.

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