There are probably a thousand thoughts going through someone’s mind right after a car accident. It may be difficult to gather yourself and make rational, intelligent decisions.

However, the first five to 15 minutes following an accident are important. There are a few crucial steps you should take right after a crash to ensure safety and your insurance claim.

Step 1

The most important step is to make sure you are not in any more danger. If you are not seriously injured, turn on your hazard lights and move away from the road. If you can, stand on the side of the road and away from traffic.

Making sure you are safe is the most crucial step to take right after an accident. It is not uncommon for accident victims to become victims again, while they are sorting out the aftermath of the first accident. Make sure you move away from potential danger.

Step 2

Calling the police and other necessary emergency services is another important action you should take after an accident. Police officers have a lot of experience with car accidents. The police can help you figure out what happened and guide you through what should happen next.

If necessary, you might also want to call an ambulance or a tow truck, depending on the conditions.

Step 3

The next step is to exchange information with the other people involved. During this time you should also try to document any evidence at the scene, as long as you can safely do so.

Take photos with your phone of the damage done. If there is any debris, skid marks or other crash evidence, be sure to have proof and photographs. This will help you file a claim with the insurance companies.

Step 4

The last step in this list is to take measures to protect yourself. There are a few ways you should do this immediately after a crash.

You will want to call your insurance company right away. During this call you can confirm your coverage. At the same time, do not talk to anyone else’s insurance company. You do not want to accidentally claim responsibility for the accident, if it was not your fault.

You should also make sure you are not injured. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you do not think you were hurt. Some injuries can go undetected.

These are certainly not the only steps you should take after an accident, but they are some of the most time-sensitive and important actions.