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What should you do following a car crash?

In the moments just after a car accident, you can experience a range of physical and emotional states. Even if you have no injuries or only minor injuries, you could be in shock from the incident. If you are seriously injured, you might not be able to move or call for help. Here are some things to do immediately following an accident if you are able.

If you can move following a car accident, stay on the scene. Check on everyone else involved in the accident--is anyone seriously injured? Does anyone need immediate assistance? Can everyone safety exit their vehicles? Don't move individuals who are complaining of neck pain or back pain and don't move individuals who are unconscious unless there are hazardous conditions that might present further dangers.

Call the police immediately as well--report the accident as accurately as possible to the 911 dispatcher so the appropriate law enforcement and medical responders can be dispatched.

Only after seeing to the needs of yourself and others should you assess property damage. Exchange insurance and contact information with anyone else involved in the accident. You might also ask for contact information from any witnesses who are willing to provide it, but be careful about saying anything at the accident site that might admit liability for the crash.

As soon as possible following an accident, notify your insurance company. You might also want to seek medical attention or get a check up, even if you feel okay following an accident. Some types of injuries common in car accidents can take days or weeks to show symptoms.

If you were injured in an accident and later have trouble recovering appropriate compensation, an experienced legal professional might be able to help. If you gathered information at the accident site as suggested above, you might be able to provide an attorney with information to begin a foundation for a case.

Source: FindLaw, "After a Car Accident: First Steps," accessed Aug. 17, 2015

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