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Steps to take after a car accident

Car accidents can be extremely frightening experiences that can change the lives of those who are involved and their families. According to the National Safety Council, the odds of you dying from a car crash are one out of 113. The risk of injury is much greater. Since this type of incident happens every day, you should learn what steps you should take after being involved in one.

Contact the authorities and file police report

Call law enforcement on your cellphone. When speaking to the authorities, try to describe as much of the incident as you can remember. Every detail counts and can help to ensure that the scene is processed correctly and that the responsible party is held accountable. File a police report so you have proof of what has transpired. Your insurer will require that information if you decide to file a claim. Of course, you should avoid accepting responsibility for the incident. Avoid making any statements that could indicate that you were responsible for the situation even if you are at fault.

Move out of harm's way

Turn on your hazard lights. If your car is drivable and in the middle of the road, move it to the side of the road so it will be out of the way of traffic. Put out road flares if you have them to alert other motorists of the incident so they can avoid it.

Assess the situation

Assess your situation and make sure that your vehicle is at a full stop. Examine yourself and your passengers for injuries. Observe the scene outside of the vehicle. Make sure it is safe for you to get out of the car if possible. If you are unable to move, it is best for you to wait for emergency responders and law enforcement to arrive and help.

Exchange information

If you and the other driver are able to do so, take down each other's information. You need his or her full name, address, driver's license number, vehicle description and insurance information. Use the camera on your cellphone to take a picture of documents that have these details to prevent confusion later on. Do not forget to take pictures of all vehicles that are involved and of the complete scene. You should also use this time to find out if there are any witnesses and take down their names and contact information as well.

Car accidents can be challenging to deal with, especially if there are injuries involved. If you are dealing with the lingering consequences of this kind of situation, you should talk things over with an attorney.

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